Hershey sued in the US over alleged metal content in dark chocolate

 (Charlie Riedel/AP)
(Charlie Riedel/AP)

Chocolate manufacturer Hershey is being sued in the US over claims some of its products contain potentially harmful amounts of metal.

Christopher Lazazzaro filed lawsuit against the company on Wednesday at a federal court in New York, claiming that Hershey did not disclose the amount of lead and cadmium in three of its dark chocolate bars.

Mr Lazazzaro claimed that if he had known about the mineral content, he would not have purchased the products.

Hershey is yet to comment on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit reads: “Consumers rely on Hershey to be truthful regarding the ingredients.”

Before adding that consumers are concerned “with what is in the food that they are putting in their bodies”.

The lawsuit referred to findings from a report by US magazine, Consumer Reports (CR) which tested 28 dark chocolate bars.

Of the 28, the magazine claimed that 23 bars, which included chocolate from Hershey, Godiva and Lindt, contained “comparatively higher levels” of the metals.

The reported added: “For 23 of the bars, eating just an ounce (28g) a day would put an adult over a level that public health authorities and CR’s experts say may be harmful for at least one of those heavy metals.”

In the research, scientists used California’s maximum allowable dose levels for lead and cadmium.

In particular, the Hershey’s special dark chocolate and Chocolove’s extreme dark bar were high in lead.

Scharffen Berger’s extra dark bar and Lindt’s 70 per cent excellent product both registered high amount cadmium in the study.

Nutritionist, Sheeba Majmudar, told the BBC: “Any food can contain heavy metals if they are present in the soil in high concentration.

“Currently there are no food laws stating that all food batches need to be tested - until they make you sick. While no level of toxins is safe, it is always the ‘buyer beware’ slogan that comes to mind.”

Mr Lazazzaro is seeking up $5m (£4.2m) in damages from Hershey.

Hershey has been approached for comment.