Court dismisses ‘processed’ fiber case

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Court dismisses ‘processed’ fiber case
A Chicago district court has dismissed a complaint alleging that General Mills and Kellogg Company should have specified on-pack that their Fiber One, Fiber Plus and other bars contained “processed” fiber.

Judge Richard Posner of the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago dismissed the suit filed by consumer Carolyn Turek, who alleged that inulin extracted from chicory root was a processed fiber, and inferior to natural fiber. Additionally, she had alleged that inulin was harmful to some people, including pregnant women, claims that the companies have denied.

The judge wrote that under federal law companies are not required to disclose that fiber in a product contains inulin, or that inulin has fewer health benefits than other forms of fiber. Judge Posner also stressed that he was not required to vouch for the truth of this claim.

He added that the labeling for Fiber Plus and the other products challenged by the plaintiff was compliant with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for the labeling of fiber, and was also in line with other regulation relating to health claims for dietary fiber.

“The disclaimers that the plaintiff wants added to the labeling of the defendants’ inulin-containing chewy bars are not identical to the labeling requirements imposed on such products by federal law, and so they are barred,”​ he wrote.

“The information required by federal law does not include disclosing that the fiber in the product includes inulin or that a product containing inulin produces fewer health benefits than a product that contains only “natural” fiber, or that inulin from chicory root should not be consumed by pregnant or lactating women.”

In conclusion, the judge wrote that all of the representations of fiber included on defendants’ packaging were specifically covered under federal regulations.

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