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Californian resident files complaint over King Arthur ‘all-natural’ labels

3 commentsBy Caroline Scott-Thomas , 21-Nov-2011

King Arthur Flour is the latest company to become the focus of a class action lawsuit for using ‘all-natural’ labeling on products that allegedly contain synthetic ingredients.

A California resident has filed a complaint focusing on 65 products that carry ‘all-natural’ labels, claiming that she did not receive the all-natural baking mixes she paid for and “has lost money as a result in the form of paying a premium for King Arthur’s Mixes because they were purportedly all natural rather than paying the lesser amount for non-natural alternatives.”

Tamar Davis Larsen’s complaint specifies several allegedly synthetic ingredients in the breakfast, dessert and bread mixes that were listed on labels despite all-natural claims, including ascorbic acid, disodium phosphate, potassium carbonate, and sodium acid pyrophosphate.

There has been a wave of lawsuits filed against firms using natural labeling claims in recent months, including a suit filed in a southern California district court against Kashi , and two class action lawsuits filed against ConAgra for marketing its Wesson range of cooking oils as ‘100% natural’ and ‘pure’ while they contain genetically modified ingredients.

Earlier this year, Snapple beat a lawsuit that was filed over its use of the word natural for products that contained high fructose corn syrup.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates the labeling of most packaged food products, currently has no definition for the word natural, although it has said that a product is not natural if it contains synthetic or artificial ingredients.

Meanwhile food manufacturers continue to launch products carrying the claim that they are all-natural. According to market research organization Mintel, the percentage of global product launches carrying a ‘natural’ claim – including no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or additives –increased from 26 percent of new launches in 2005 to over a third in 2009.

The King Arthur Flour complaint is Larsen v. King Arthur Flour Co., Inc., No. 11-5495, filed in a northern California district court on November 14.

3 comments (Comments are now closed)

Agreed - Garbage

This person is an embarrassment to everyone trying to eat right. Read the label. Don’t buy it if it has an ingredient you don’t recognize until you can do your due diligence. A lawsuit for damages??? C’mon! All this does is make money for the lawyers and push up prices for the rest of us. Surely there is a better way to force companies to be honest...isn't the FDA/govt supposed to provide oversight (ha ha, yes, I'm kidding - welcome to the American Oligarchy).

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Posted by Hugh Akston
06 December 2011 | 18h542011-12-06T18:54:57Z

Garbage

What garbage. This is an extortion law suit. The contents were also right there on the label. All she had to do was read the label when she bought the product and she would have known what she was getting. If she did not think it was all natural she should not have bought it. No one made her. This is a manufactured law suit so the lawyer can ask for millions of dollars in legal fees while the named plaintiff might get a few thousand dollars. There is an established pattern to this in the legal industry. This has NOTHING to do with making food safer for people. It is all about abuse of the class action system by a group of lawyers who abuse their license and should be disbarred if the Bar really cared; which they don't.

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Posted by Robert Jordan
01 December 2011 | 20h372011-12-01T20:37:43Z

When natural is anything but

It's great, that more people are beginning to realize that the food industry is misleading us with the natural claims on their products. They can get away with this deception, because the government lets them pull a fast one on us. Profits are put before people, and we pay the price. But, they can't fool all of the people all of the time, and their dirty tricks come to light. People are paying more attention to what they are eating, and learning that our food supply is more garbage then real food. And we are rejecting the junk and the companies that deceive us.

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Posted by DJ
21 November 2011 | 19h112011-11-21T19:11:26Z

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