A proposed class action alleges AMIN.O ENERGY-brand pre-workout powders are falsely advertised in that they contain undisclosed artificial flavors and significantly more calories than stated on product labels.
According to the 21-page lawsuit, defendant Glanbia Performance Nutrition (who does business as Optimum Nutrition) has marketed its sugar-free, pre-workout powders as “Naturally Flavored” and containing “No Artificial Sweeteners or Colors.” The case alleges that these representations are false since the products contain artificial malic acid, a flavor enhancer derived from petrochemicals.
“Because the Products contain artificial flavoring, California law requires the Products to display both front- and back-label disclosures to inform consumers that the Products are artificially flavored,” the lawsuit states. “The Products have none of the required disclosures regarding the use of artificial flavors.”
The lawsuit alleges that the workout powders at issue—which come in 15 flavors, including blue raspberry, cotton candy, lemon lime and strawberry lime—were tested by an independent laboratory commissioned by the plaintiff’s counsel and found to contain malic acid. Although malic acid can occur naturally, it is “extremely expensive” to use its natural form in mass-produced food products, the suit points out. According to the case, independent testing has confirmed that the malic acid in the AMIN.O ENERGY powders is DL malic acid, an artificial variety derived from components of gasoline and lighter fluid.
The case claims that since the malic acid in the pre-workout powders is used to “create, enhance, simulate, and/or reinforce” the products’ fruity taste, its use as an artificial flavor must be disclosed on the supplements’ front labels. According to the complaint, the defendant changed the AMIN.O ENERGY products’ labels to remove the “no artificial sweeteners or color” and “naturally flavored” statements at some point after the plaintiff brought his claims to the company’s attention.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that the AMIN.O ENERGY products contain far more than the stated five calories per serving. According to the suit, testing performed at the direction of the plaintiff’s counsel confirmed, via one of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s five approved methods for calculating a food’s calories, that the products contain roughly 35 calories per serving.
“Under any of the FDA’s relevant Five Methods, the Products are mislabeled because the actual caloric content per serving is at least 5 times the stated value, even after subtracting grams of protein to account for indigestibility,” the lawsuit alleges.
The case argues that consumers have overpaid for the AMIN.O ENERGY products based on the defendant’s false representations regarding artificial flavors and calories.
The suit looks to cover anyone in California who purchased the AMIN.O ENERGY pre-workout powder products within the past four years.
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