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California law mandates the inclusion of this notice on our product when any ingredient exceeds 1/1000th of the 'Safe Harbor Levels' established by the World Health Organization for a comprehensive list of chemicals, which includes naturally occurring minerals.

As an illustration, our Organic Cocoa boasts exceptional nutritional density and naturally contains trace amounts of minerals, including lead, a common occurrence in all naturally grown foods cultivated in uncontaminated soils.

Our products consistently surpass the established standards, testing at levels between .06 and .14 micrograms per kilogram (mcg/kg), equivalent to approximately 2.6 MICROgrams per bar. These levels firmly fall within the FDA's recognized safe limits.

This is 2/1000th of the World Health Organization’s “Safe Harbour” amount, and, since it is over 1/1000th, we have to put the warning on shipments to Californian customers due to Prop 65.

The lead in our product is a trace amount, and naturally occurring. The lead content in our product is trace and originates from natural sources. To put this in perspective: the amount of lead contained in one of our SKOUT ORGANIC SNACK BARS are below the naturally occurring lead found in plant foods. The USDA recommended 3-5 servings of vegetables daily could easily contain up to ten times more lead than the maximum allowed by California prop 65.

Here are two examples that should put this in perspective:

Natural green beans contain 28.75 micrograms of lead in a one cup serving, which is an exposure of approximately 50 times the allowed Prop 65 levels. This is more than 10 times the amount of lead in a serving of Skout Organic Snack Bars.

Natural spinach contains approximately 5.2 micrograms of lead in a typical adult serving size which is an exposure that exceeds Prop 65 levels by 10 times. This is double the amount of lead in a serving of Skout Organic Snack Bars.

If you were to have a serving of green beans, a serving of spinach, and a serving of brussels sprouts in a day (all grown on natural, clean soils) you could be taking in 80 times the Prop 65 limit and 16 times the amount of lead in a serving of Skout Organic Snack Bars.

Now, we don't have to put the warning on shipments anywhere else in the WORLD as the FDA, Europe, and Australasian safe tolerance level for lead (ie, you must be below this level to sell as a food or supplement), is well over our lead level, and no other state, or country, has this rule like California.

In summary, Prop 65 has faced substantial criticism regarding its 1/1000th notification threshold.

However we must comply with the law, so until the Prop 65 legislation changes, our warning sticker is here to stay.

We have included some frequently asked questions and more information below.

What is the California Proposition 65 “warning”?

In California it’s a law known as the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. It’s also referred to as Proposition 65 and for short: Prop 65.

CALIFORNIA’S Proposition 65 requires the warning you now see on our label.


Proposition 65: Good Intensions, Bad Law

Prop 65 limits for lead are so low, almost all foods contain amounts higher than allowed:

24 Times Higher:

  • Roasted - mixed nuts (no peanuts) - 10.2 mcg
  • Fried - liver, beef - 9.0 mcg

16 Times Higher:

  • Fresh and Boiled Brussels sprouts 7.9 mcg
  • Fresh and Baked Sweet potato 7.2 mcg
  • Boiled Spinach 7.0 mcg

8 Times Higher:

  • Raw Avocado 4.5 mcg
  • Honey 4.5 mcg
  • Raw Watermelon 4.5 mcg
  • Raw Cucumber 3.4 mcg
  • Raw Peach 3.4 mcg
  • Raw Red Apple 2.6 mcg

More about the California Proposition 65 warning:

Prop 65 requires products sold in California to bear warnings about potential exposure to any of the substances listed by the state of California. This notice does not apply to any other state in the Union. To put this notice in perspective, the value of lead contained in Skout Organic Snack Bars products is well within the range and below the mean value of naturally occurring lead levels found in plants growing in non-contaminated soils. A person eating the USDA recommended 3-5 servings of vegetables daily could consume up to ten times more lead than the stringent Prop 65 warning as required by California.

What kinds of food are affected?

Almost all foods contain some level of one or more of the substances recognized by the State of California. In most cases, the exposure levels established by Prop 65 are less than what occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables, and even drinking water. The Proposition 65 exposure standards are so strict that certain natural foods such as yams, turnips, apples, tomatoes, artichokes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, spinach, and potatoes, provide exposures in excess of Prop 65 limits. However, food producers are not required to provide Prop 65 notices.

How does this affect Skout Organic Products?

Prop 65 states that no warning is required when the listed substance occurs naturally in a food product, and not as the result of “known human activity.” However, the State of California has never issued clear guidelines on how this exception applies to the health supplement industry. Even when the ingredient is natural, and placed into a supplement, we enter the Prop 65 notification requirement.

It is generally understood that lead and other substances occur naturally in the environment and are found in trace amounts in naturally occurring ingredients, including those ingredients used to make dietary supplements. However, to claim this naturally occurring exception to Prop 65 (i.e.: to not post the labels on products) usually lands the claimant in an expensive, time consuming, and business destroying legal proceeding.

Should I be worried about consuming Skout Organic products?

Proteins, plants, and minerals all are well-known to contain substances that exceed those allowed exposures on the Prop 65 list. Naturally grown plants absorb metals and other trace chemicals from the soil in which they are grown. For example, Prop 65 sets a safe harbour limit of 0.5 mcg of lead per serving, but this limit is far below the amount of lead naturally found in many fruits and vegetables grown on clean, non-contaminated soils. In 2009 the State of California conducted its own food crop soil-lead-uptake analysis (Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 129:212-220), and California’s experts found that the most commonly consumed vegetables (from 70 different locations), averaged nearly four times the Prop 65 lead limit per serving.

When compared with the Prop 65 standards, each serving of potatoes, lettuce, wheat, carrots and many other vegetables would require a lead warning.

Remember that Prop 65 regulates exposures, not concentrations and not actual harm or injury. Natural proteins, for example, naturally have high levels of lead. Any process to remove the lead would destroy the protein. All Skout Organic products fall within FDA suggested guidelines for any/all of the chemicals listed by Prop 65 and can be safely consumed.

Why does Skout Organic put warnings on their labels?

Skout Organic chooses to adhere to Prop 65 warning label requirements as a strategic business decision, aiming to circumvent costly, protracted, and potentially business-disrupting litigation related to Prop 65 compliance.

We believe all our products should be exempted under the “naturally occurring allowance” exception. However, until this exception is more clearly delineated by the Courts and the State of California, all Skout Organic products will comply with the notice requirements.

Skout Organic believes that the limit for lead mandated by California Proposition 65 as reproductive toxicant is unduly strict when taking into consideration lead limits of other recognized government agencies such as FDA, EPA, USDA etc. The California Agency responsible for administering Proposition 65, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) has developed safe harbor levels. A business has “safe harbor” from Proposition 65 warning requirements if exposure to a chemical occurs at or below these levels. These safe harbor level, Maximum Allowable Dose Level (“MADL”) for lead as causing birth defects or other reproductive harm is 5 parts per million.

According to the website of the OEHHA ( the criteria used by the State of California to determine the MADL for reproductive toxicants:

“For chemicals that are listed as causing birth defects or reproductive harm, the “no observable effect level” is determined by identifying the level of exposure that has been shown to not pose any harm to humans or laboratory animals. Proposition 65 then requires this “no observable effect level” to be divided by 1,000 in order to provide an ample margin of safety. Businesses subject to Proposition 65 are required to provide a warning if they cause exposures to chemicals listed as causing birth defects or reproductive harm that exceed 1/lOOOth of the “no observable effect level.”

Skout Organic’s understanding is that the use of a factor of 1/1,000th is no longer, if it ever was, scientifically defensible. According to many knowledgeable experts the factor should be much higher than 1/1OOth. The required use of the 1/1,000th factor is a provision in California’s Proposition 65. Many experts believe that the 1/1OOOth factor is no longer defensible in view of advancing science on the subject. However, because Proposition 65 was passed by the voters in California, the 1/1OOOth factor can only be changed by a two-thirds vote of the California legislature and such a vote is extremely unlikely.

You also might ask why don't all snack companies have to exhibit this warning? In our research, we have found there are fiscal work-arounds that allow larger well funded companies to bypass having to exhibit these warnings. Funding legal defenses for these types of legal actions can sometimes squash smaller companies like us.

Skout Organic believes that the lead in its products is “naturally occurring.” Proposition 65 allows for subtracting out natural background levels of lead from the total level of lead but only that portion that is not added by “human activity.”

We comply with the law, and until any legislative changes occur, we will continue to place Prop 65 Warnings on relevant products sold to or in the State of California.

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