Smucker Natural Foods named in class action over marketing Natural Brew Draft Root Beer as “Natural”

This is a class action bought against Smucker Natural Foods, Inc. And J.M. Smucker Co. on behalf of all consumers nationwide who purchased “Natural Brew Draft Root Beer”

As alleged, Smucker claims on its website and elsewhere that the product: a) is “made from all natural ingredients;” b) has “no artificial colors, flavors, or additives, ever;” and c) is “brewed in small batches with the finest natural ingredients.”

Smucker’s Natural Brew Draft Root Beer contains caramel coloring (an artificial coloring agent) and phosphoric acid ( an artificial flavoring ingredient).

As alleged, Smucker uses its “Natural Brew” product line to fool consumers into believing that its root beer is not artificially flavored, colored, or chemically preserved. In so doing Smucker has misled and deceived consumers, and it has violated consumer protection laws.

 

Pepperidge Farm named in class action lawsuit over GMOs in its “Natural” Cheddar Goldfish® Crackers

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Pepperidge Farm markets, advertises, sells and distributes “Natural” Cheddar Goldfish® Crackers

According to the complaint, Defendant made and continues to make false and misleading claims regarding its representation that the Product is “Natural.” Defendant has mistakenly or misleadingly represented that the Product is “Natural,” when in fact, it is not, because it contains bio-engineered food, more commonly known as Genetically Modified Organisms (“GMOs”) in the form of GMO soy and/or soy derivatives.

As alleged,  Defendant’s “Natural” statement prominently displayed on the Product’s packaging and/or labeling is false, misleading, and likely to deceive reasonable consumers, such as Plaintiff and members of the Class, because the Product is not “Natural,” due to the presence of soybean oil in the Product.

GMOs are plants that grow from seeds in which DNA splicing has been used to place genes from another source into a plant. Contrary to Defendant’s express or implied representations, the Product uses plants or plant derivatives grown or created from GMOs.  Defendant’s marketing of the Product as “Natural” is false, because GMOs’ genetic makeup has been altered through biotechnology to exhibit characteristics that do not otherwise occur in nature.

The complaint seeks an Order prohibiting Defendant from including genetically modified ingredients in its “Natural” Products or, in the alternative, from representing the Products are “Natural” when they are not, because bio-engineered soy is not “Natural.”

Chobani, Inc. accused of falsely labeling Greek yogurt products

 Chobani, Inc. manufactures, distributes, markets and sells several flavors of yogurt under its Chobani® Greek Yogurt and Chobani® Greek Yogurt Champions brands.

As alleged in the complaint, on the front of the yogurt packaging are the words “Only Natural Ingredients” or “All Natural,” followed by the product name “Chobani Greek Yogurt” or “Chobani Greek Yogurt Champions” and the two primary ingredients: non-fat or low-fat yogurt and fruit. The complete list of ingredients included on the back of the container seemingly confirm the nutritious nature of the products – milk, active yogurt cultures, fruit, vegetable and evaporative cane juices, pectin, natural flavors and locust bean gum. No (or low) fat. No (or low) cholesterol. And, no added sugars. In truth, however, depending on the flavor, the Products contain one to three teaspoons per six ounce serving of dried cane syrup, which is a highly refined added sweetener devoid of nutritional value. However, sugar is not listed among the Products’ list of ingredients, nor is dried cane syrup. Instead, Chobani refers to the dried cane syrup as “evaporated cane juice” (“ECJ”) – a term that the FDA has declared “false and misleading” because it fails to reveal that ECJ is a sugar or syrup and not a “juice.” It also misleadingly suggests that the sugar cane juice has been “evaporated,” leaving the sugar crystals with their nutrients still intact. But, unlike natural sugar cane, which is brimming with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, fibers and phytonutrients, ECJ is not healthy and nourishing. During refinement, the sugar cane juice is pressed from the sugar cane and boiled at high temperatures – destroying the enzymes and most of the nutrients – the molasses is removed, and the end result is little different from white sugar, about 99% sucrose, which is pure empty calories.

The complaint further contends that what this means to the consumer is that the thirteen to twenty-one grams (depending on the yogurt flavor) of “sugars” listed on the back of the container nutrition panel are not derived wholly from the natural nutrient rich sugars in the Products’ two primary ingredients, milk (lactose) and fruit (fructose and glucose), but are predominantly added refined sugars. Stated differently, roughly one-third of the Products’ total calories come from sugars with no nutritional benefit. However, this material information is omitted from the Product package, Chobani’s website, its marketing materials and other advertisements. Instead, the Company’s website, which is identified on the Products’ packaging, falsely proclaims “we don’t add sugar to our yogurt.”

Use of the misleading term ECJ and the omission of information identifying ECJ as an added sugar or syrup are likely to deceive consumers seeking a yogurt product with no added sugars or syrup sweeteners. The likelihood of deception is enhanced when the ECJ misrepresentations and omissions are viewed in the context of the whole label, with its emphasis on “All Natural” or “Only Natural Ingredients” and the Company’s promise of “nothing but good”

 CLASS: All consumers who purchased Chobani Greek Yogurt with evaporated cane juice and/or Chobani Greek Yogurt Champions with evaporated cane juice.