Consumer Advocacy Group, Inc. (CAG) has entered into out-of-court settlements with four instant coffee producers in February.
The instant coffee cases are not related to the brewed coffee litigation brought against Starbucks and dozens of other well-known brewed coffee vendors that will soon embark on the second phase of their trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The instant coffee settlements are different because the cases allege that instant coffee products sold by J.M. Smucker, Inc., Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA, Inc. and Atlantic Coffee Solutions —- expose consumers to lead.
The settling defendants agreed to reformulate their instant coffee products so that lead levels in the coffee will not exceed 0.5 micrograms per day, or provide a clear and reasonable Proposition 65 warning.
The settling parties each paid a total of $36,000 of which $24,000 was for attorneys’ fees, $6,000 went for civil penalties and an additional $6,000 was earmarked for in lieu of civil penalties payments back to CAG.
The for-profit Consumer Advocacy Group is best known for Prop 65 litigation involving products sold in dollar stores and discount retail outlets. The organization has been one of the most active citizen enforcement groups since its formation in the late 1990s, having filed more than 270 Prop. 65 enforcement actions to date.