If you're a resident of California, and you’ve found your way to this page, you’ve no doubt encountered a Prop 65 warning, and might be asking yourself if the Miracle Tree product you bought is safe. The short answer is, yes! While we’d love to keep it short and sweet, what we want even more is to empower you with information to make informed decisions.
Prop 65 –also known as California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 – requires cancer or reproductive warnings for products that may lead to exposure to compounds, even at levels 1000 times less than the level at which no measurable effect can be scientifically detected, as in the case of lead or other chemical compounds.
How do these chemical compounds even get into an organic herbal superfoods in the first place? These chemical compounds are elements found naturally in the soil, which plants naturally uptake along with minerals and other nutrients as they grow. We do not add any chemical compounds to any of our products, nor is it a byproduct of the production process and there is currently no known process to remove such chemical compounds from plant material.
As an example, lead may be detected not only in herbs but also in many healthy foods like avocados, apples and lettuce – though the low levels of concentration do not outweigh the health benefits of the other compounds in these healthy fruits and vegetables. To further illustrate, let’s look at herbal supplements. If the recommended daily dose of an herbal superfood is 4 grams, that means that a person could ingest 4,000 grams per day and still not reach a lead level with a scientifically established risk of reproductive harm. That is not to say that it is safe to exceed the recommended dose and we strongly advise to never take more than the recommended dose of any supplement. The bottom line is – the product with a warning label does not have to represent actual risk to carry the warning.
It is probably no surprise that these new labeling requirements have caused a lot of unnecessary confusion and concern – and are potentially doing more harm than good by desensitizing people to the warnings, thereby failing to accurately warn consumers about substantiated risk. The law requires warning labels at levels that are a fraction of those set by both federal and global standards.
Are our products safe? Yes! We believe in the safety levels set by the EPA, FDA, EU, and WHO for lead, cadmium, mercury, and arsenic (the four most common heavy metals found in superfoods). In fact, our products fall well below these nationally and internationally-recognized safety levels. But Prop 65 standards are set at levels that are often impossible to reach with plant-based foods that naturally (and harmlessly) absorb these heavy metals from the soil. More importantly, all of our products are organic certified as well.
The truth of the matter is that you'll find this warning on food products, airplanes, in coffee shops, restaurants, and if you look close enough, just about everywhere in California. This happens because so many businesses and products fall under the requirements, there is no real way for consumers to know what the actual danger is. Even the state body that regulates Prop 65 (California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment) clearly states: “A Proposition 65 warning does not necessarily mean a product is in violation of any product-safety standards or requirements.”
So, who benefits from a law like Prop 65? Those who typically benefit from laws like this are the lawyers who profit off small businesses that are otherwise in full compliance with existing regulatory and safety standards. Because smaller businesses often don’t have the resources to fight a lawsuit in court, they typically settle out of court and thus become a target for litigious opportunists.
In just the last 2 years, businesses paid settlements of over $17.8 million in addition to $14.3 million in attorney’s fees. Unfortunately, it is typically small businesses who bear the burden of such laws and ultimately the consumer who pays the real price in misinformation and increased prices on the shelf. These suits are very expensive and devastating to many small businesses that produce safe, law-abiding products.
In conclusion Prop 65 is a failed attempt to keep Californians healthy, safe, and away from dangerous chemicals. It is massively flawed, ill-informed, and unrelentingly exploited by profit-seeking lawyers. Hundreds of respectable, law-abiding natural food product manufacturers have been harmed by these lawsuits, with little or no benefit to the people Prop 65 is supposed to protect.
If you would like to further educate yourself on Proposition 65 and its implications, please visit any of the links below.
AHPA: Prop 65 FAQ’s
Are animal models predictive for humans?
WebMD: Don’t Ditch the Coffee Over Cancer Risk News
Coffee and Cancer - What the Research Really Shows
No Significant Risk v Maximum Allowable Levels
Miracle Tree performs assessments of suppliers on various risk factors, including suppliers’ labor practices and reputation. For Miracle Tree branded products, we attempt to visit most of the facilities in which our branded products are made to ensure the suppliers’ quality and operational practices meet Miracle Tree standards and may during such process, assess certain labor conditions.
Our supplier contracts require compliance with all applicable laws, which includes laws relating to labor, slavery and human trafficking. Generally, we require our suppliers confirm that a third-party independent auditor has audited their manufacturing facilities to ensure they meet industry standards, including certain labor related practices, and make available to us any corresponding audit report for our review. For our Miracle Tree branded products we may audit our supplier facilities ourselves or with assistance from third-party auditors from time to time, and during such audits, we may assess labor related practices.
In addition to requiring suppliers to contractually represent that they comply with all applicable laws, Miracle Tree also sells certain products which have third-party certifications, such as Fair Trade Certified™ that have various certification requirements such as banning child and forced labor. Miracle Tree does not separately require suppliers to provide any additional certification about human trafficking and forced labor.
Miracle Tree is committed to social responsibility and ethical conduct in the workplace. While our employee handbook does not specifically mention human trafficking or forced labor, we consider our requirements that each employee comply with the law and conduct business in a fair and transparent manner as including a prohibition against human trafficking, coerced labor and slavery. Any employee’s failure to comply with the Miracle Tree employee handbook may result in disciplinary action.
Currently, we do not provide any specific training for Miracle Tree personnel responsible for supply chain management with respect to the Act, and the topics covered therein. However, we continually assess all of our policies and procedures, including training practices, and update such materials when opportunities may arise.