California Prop 65: The Details in Plain English – Ample Foods

California Prop 65: The Details in Plain English

Hey Ample lovers. You may have noticed a pretty intense warning on our site:

⚠ WARNING: This product can expose you to chemicals including lead, which is known to the State of California to cause cancer. For more information, go to

This warning and its wording are in adherence to a law called the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Prop 65. If you live in California, you’ll find a variation of this warning on chocolate, coffee, protein powders, other packaged foods, and almost every building.

So, what’s this warning about? And what does it have to do with Ample? Here are some facts about California’s Prop 65 and some resources in case you want to learn more:

What is Prop 65?

In 1986, Californians came together to talk about the growing concerns of toxic chemicals in our food, air, and water. An amazing conversation to have! The concerns of many a Californian officially turned into the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, better known as Prop 65.

Prop 65 requires the state of California to keep an updated list of chemicals that are known to cause cancer or birth defects. To date, there are more than 800 chemicals on the list, both man-made and heavy metals found naturally in soil.

The law also requires businesses to publicly notify consumers if any of those chemicals are in the food or beverages they serve, or in the air if it’s a public facility.

Unfortunately, heavy metals like lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury to name a few, occur naturally in soil and water. Sure, humans have heaped a fair amount of chemicals into the environment over the years, but the point is: these toxic metals are impossible to avoid completely.

Prop 65 does a great job of calling out companies that expose people to high levels of toxic chemicals and fumes. Because of Prop 65, Californians have dramatically reduced car emissions and alcohol-related birth defects.

However, the limits established by Prop 65 are way more stringent than the ones set by the FDA and the EFSA (European Food Safety Authority). That's why so many foods have a problem meeting the guidelines.

Heavy metals are unavoidable in the environment and trace amounts are found in almost every kind of food grown in soil, including all those veggies your mother told you to eat.

Brussels sprouts, spinach, collard greens, and most other fresh veggies contain 5-10 times the maximum lead levels outlined by Prop 65 [ref], but we aren’t going to suggest you stop eating vegetables. We believe the CA Prop 65 recommendations are unrealistic if you’re eating anything that was grown in soil.

All Ample products (and all the vegetables we just listed, for that matter) fall very comfortably within federal guidelines for any and all compounds listed in Prop 65, and you should feel good about drinking them.


I don’t live in California. Does this law apply to me?

Nope. Prop 65 is a CA-only law, so you likely won’t see the same types of warnings on food packaging or at points of purchase if you don’t live here.

Other states simply adhere to Federal guidelines when it comes to labeling, which keep heavy metals and other toxic chemicals at levels that are safe for human consumption, but don’t quite match the stringent standards of California’s Prop 65..

Ample products fall well within the range of safety according to the Federal guidelines.


Why does Ample have the Prop 65 warning?

Ample contains an array of plant and animal proteins, nutrient-dense greens, nuts, and seeds. Any trace amounts of Prop 65-list toxins in Ample are from the ingredients in their natural state.

Prop 65 says that no warning is required when one of those 800 substances occurs naturally in food, and not as the result of “known human activity.” That means a potato or a bag of rice would never require a warning. But the health and wellness industry falls into a weird gray area here.

Ample contains real food, whether it’s from greens, sweet potatoes, or whey derived from grass-fed cow’s milk. So although it’s common knowledge that lead and other heavy metals occur naturally in the environment and are found in trace amounts in most fruits, veggies, meat, and water, because a product like Ample is minimally processed and packaged, we’re required to use the Prop 65 warning even though these chemicals are naturally occurring and had nothing to do with Ample’s production process.



Still have questions about Prop 65?

The best thing to do if you want more information about a specific product is to contact the manufacturer. They should have updated results that show heavy metal and toxicity levels in their products.

For general information about Prop 65’s list of chemicals, you can contact OEHHA’s Prop 65 program at (916) 445-6900, or visit the Proposition 65 page.

But remember, labeling enforcement in California isn’t perfect, so just because you may see another product without a Prop 65 warning doesn’t mean that product is free of toxic chemicals or even has lower levels.