LOS ANGELES (CN) – A nutritional health company agreed Wednesday to pay $1.5 million to settle claims it misled California customers by advertising its prenatal vitamins as “free of heavy metals” when they actually contained trace amounts of lead.
Third-party testing by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office found claims that Rainbow Light’s vitamins contained the lowest detectable lead levels on the market were false.
City Attorney Mike Feuer says Rainbow Light and its affiliates agreed to cooperate with his office and remove the misleading advertising from its products.
Rainbow Light also agreed as part of the settlement to reduce the amount of lead found in its products.
Its products are sold at Whole Foods, GNC Vitamins and other major chain stores.
California consumers who purchased the Rainbow Light prenatal vitamins in the past four years are eligible for a refund as part of the agreement entered Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The Sunrise, Florida-based company Nutranext is also a named defendant in the complaint. The companies were acquired by The Clorox Company in March 2018.
As part of the settlement, the company agreed to test its products every six months to ensure that lead levels are not greater than 0.2 micrograms. If that threshold is crossed, the company will notify Feuer’s office, begin an investigation and report back within 45 days with its findings.
The company will also pay $250,000 in civil penalties and costs.
In a statement, Rainbow Light said, “Rainbow Light wants women to understand that our prenatal and postnatal vitamins are safe and have less lead than you could find in a typical serving of spinach. Because our vitamins include plant- and mineral-based ingredients, they contain trace elements of lead and other heavy metals.”
The company said the naturally occurring trace amounts are below the state’s Proposition 65 standards and they’re working to reduce the levels found in their products.
“We are pleased to have resolved legal claims raised by the Los Angeles City Attorney related to certain language that was previously on our website,” the company said.