SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP/CBS13) — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued five seafood companies on Tuesday, alleging they have sold fish that contains lead and cadmium in the state without legally required warnings.
The state’s lawsuit alleges the companies violated Proposition 65, which prohibits exposing consumers to chemicals that could cause cancer or reproductive problems without clear warnings.
The suit says the California Department of Justice found unacceptable levels of lead or cadmium in fresh and frozen clams, cuttlefish, eel, octopus, oysters, periwinkle and sea squirt.
“When California’s consumers, restaurants, and supermarkets purchase seafood, they shouldn’t have to worry about whether the products they’re buying contain toxic chemicals,” Becerra said in a news release. “The seafood industry has a responsibility to ensure the safety of its products – and to warn consumers of any risks. I hope this lawsuit serves as a warning to any company that might skirt its responsibilities under Proposition 65. The California Department of Justice will hold you accountable.”
The defendants named in the suit are importers, distributors and wholesalers of seafood including Clearwater Seafoods, Rhee Bros., Seaquest Seafood Corporation, Jayone Foods and Pacific American Fish Company.
Email messages left with the companies seeking comment were not immediately returned.
The suit also claims the companies broke California’s unfair competition law and its prohibition on fraudulent business practices.