Quaker Oats (PepsiCo) and others accused of mislabeling products by Maple Syrup Producers’ Associations — Investigation opened

Quaker Oats

A consortium of Maple associations asked the FDA to take enforcement actions against a variety of companies that use the terms maple but whose product does not contain any. This misbranded group of products generally declares “maple” on their packaging as a characterizing ingredient even where maple syrup is not actually present in the product.

As claimed by the association, the term “maple” has long been used and understood to refer to “maple syrup.” Maple syrup, a premium ingredient, has a material bearing on the price and/or consumer acceptance of food products that contain it, which is why it is frequently an ingredient named in the title properly labeled to prevent consumer confusion.

As further claimed by the Associations, this unchecked misbranding has an adverse impact on manufacturers of products containing real maple syrup, as it allows cheaper products not containing premium ingredients to compete with those actually containing maple syrup. Further, it deceives consumers into believing they are purchasing a premium product when, in fact, they have a product of substantially lower quality.

The letter requests the FDA take enforcement actions to stop the misbranding of this class of products, either by removing the maple branding from the packaging, or by adding maple syrup – a substance derived from the heat treatment of sap from the maple tree of foods or displayed on its packaging. Thus, if a product name includes “maple,” or its packaging emphasizes the presence of maple (e.g., through vignettes of maple syrup, leaves, and trees), but the product does not actually contain any maple syrup, it is unlawfully misbranded under this regulation.

The letter called out the following products as using the term maple without having maple as an ingredient.

MOM Brands’ Better Oats Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal with Flax

Madhava Natural Sweeteners Maple Agave Nectar

Honey Stinger Organic Maple Waffle

Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal

Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar High Fiber Instant Oatmeal

GU Maple Bacon Energy Gel

Quaker Oats Maple Pecan Raisin Flavored Oatmeal

Hood Ice Cream Maple Walnut

 

Have you consumed any of these products? Have you consumed other products labeled as containing maple only to find out it contained none?  Please share your story with us or contact us directly to inquire about your legal rights.

 

 

Seven of Italy’s best-known olive oil companies are being investigated for mislabeling inferior quality virgin olive oil as extra-virgin

Oilve Oil

The investigation, the latest scandal to hit Italy’s lucrative food and drink sector, involves seven well-known producers accused of passing off virgin olive oil as extra-virgin

Italian authorities announced that of 20 brands of extra-virgin olive oil tested, nine were found to contain lower quality oil. Companies such as Bertolli, Santa Sabina, Primadonna, Antica Badia, Carapelli, Coricelli and Sasso were implicated in the investigation. Many of these producers sell what they claim to be extra virgin olive oil in the United States

Extra-virgin oil, which is typically green-gold in colour, is made by crushing the olives soon after they are picked in a process that involves no chemicals, heat or industrial refining. Virgin olive oil is cheaper and generally more acidic

In 2011 it was found that four out of five bottles of ‘Italian’ olive oil contained low-quality oil from other Mediterranean countries. An investigation by customs officers revealed that unscrupulous producers were mixing in cheaper oil from Greece, Spain, Morocco and Tunisia and passing it off as top-end extra virgin oil.

Have you purchased one of these products? Suspicious of whether you paid for real extra virgin olive oil? We want to hear from you.

Barbara’s Bakery settles class action lawsuit over mislabeling of products

 

A Settlement was reached in a class action naming Barbara’s Bakery over the marketing and sale of certain of its products. The Settlement is on behalf of consumers who bought Barbara’s Bakery Cereals, Cereal Bars, Cheese Puffs, Crackers Fig Bars, Granola Bars Organic Mini Cookies, Snack Mixes, Snackimals Animal Cookies products from May 23, 2008 to July 5, 2013.

Barbara’s Bakery will pay $4 million into a Settlement Fund to pay: (1) money to eligible consumers, (2) notice and administration costs, (3) attorneys’ fees and costs, and (4) a special service payment to the Class Representative.  Barbara’s Bakery has also agreed to change some of its business practices, including modifying its product labels and advertising and certain manufacturing practices.  Any money remaining in the Settlement Fund after all claims are paid will be donated to charities and non-profit organizations.  Additional details are in the Settlement Agreement available on the website. www.BarbarasBakerySettlement.com

Oceana Study Reveals Seafood Fraud Nationwide

According to the study, 33% of seafood nationwide is mislabeled. From 2010 to 2012, Oceana conducted one of the largest seafood fraud investigations in the world to date, collecting more than 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states to determine if they were honestly labeled. DNA testing found that one-third (33 percent) of the 1,215 samples analyzed nationwide were mislabeled, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines.

Of the most commonly collected fish types, samples sold as snapper and tuna had the highest mislabeling rates (87 and 59 percent, respectively), with the majority of the samples identified by DNA analysis as something other than what was found on the label. In fact, only seven of the 120 samples of red snapper purchased nationwide were actually red snapper. The other 113 samples were another fish. Halibut, grouper, cod and Chilean seabass were also mislabeled between 19 and 38 percent of the time, while salmon was mislabeled 7 percent of the time.

Forty-four percent of all the retail outlets visited sold mislabeled fish. Restaurants, grocery stores and sushi venues all sold mislabeled fish and chances of being swindled varied greatly depending on where the seafood was purchased. Our study identified strong national trends in seafood mislabeling levels among retail types, with sushi venues ranking the highest (74 percent), followed by restaurants (38 percent) and then grocery stores (18 percent). These same trends among retail outlets were generally observed at the regional level.

Read the full story here: http://oceana.org/en/news-media/publications/reports/oceana-study-reveals-seafood-fraud-nationwide