Proposition 65 – OEHHA Proposes Safe Harbor Concentrations and Blanket Protections for Exposures to Acrylamide and Other Listed Chemicals in Cooked or Heat Processed Foods
August 10, 2020
Authored by: Tom Lee, Doug Alvarez and Merrit Jones
On August 4, 2020, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the lead agency that implements Proposition 65 and has the authority to promulgate and amend regulations, released a proposed regulation providing that intake of listed chemicals formed by cooking or heat processing foods would not represent an exposure for the purposes of Proposition 65 if the concentrations are reduced to the lowest level currently feasible. The proposed regulation would also establish maximum concentration levels for acrylamide in specific foods that are deemed by OEHHA to be the lowest levels currently feasible. Concentrations of acrylamide at or below the level identified for the specified products would not require a warning. Public comments concerning this proposed action must be received by OEHHA by October 6, 2020.
Proposition 65 prohibits a person in the course of doing business from knowingly and intentionally exposing any individual to a chemical that has been listed as known to the state to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity without first giving clear and reasonable warning to such individual. An exemption from the warning requirement is provided when the exposure is below established safe harbor levels.
Currently, there are regulatory exceptions from the warning requirement for exposures to naturally occurring chemicals in foods, specific concentrations of naturally occurring arsenic in rice, and for certain exposures to listed chemicals in water or air. The proposed regulation would create an additional exception from the warning requirement for listed chemicals that are unavoidably created in foods during cooking or heat processing and that