Danone North America, LLC and the Whitewave Foods Company—collectively known as DanoneWave—are staring down a proposed class action filed in late December in which the plaintiff alleges the entities deceptively advertise their Horizon Organic Milk plus DHA Omega-3 products. The 23-page lawsuit alleges the following products, despite their advertising and promotion, are not as organic as the defendants purport them to be:
Horizon Organic Milk with DHA Omega-3;
Horizon Organic Reduced Fat Milk with DHA Omega-3;
Horizon Organic Fat-Free Milk with DHA Omega-3;
Horizon Organic Lowfat Chocolate Milk with DHA Omega-3;
Horizon Organic Lowfat Chocolate Milk Box with DHA Omega-3; and
Horizon Organic Lowfat Vanilla Milk Box with DHA Omega-3.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants’ claim that their milk products are certified as organic is no more than a tactic meant to take advantage of consumers’ tendencies to believe organic foods are superior and healthier than conventionally derived products. At issue, the complaint reads, is the defendants’ inclusion in the above-listed products ofDHA, an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil supplements.
“Horizon Organic milk is not organic. The DHA DanoneWave adds to the Horizon organic milk is not organic and is not an additive that may be included in certified organic food products, such as defendants’ Horizon Organic milk,” the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit says the DHA omega-3 used by the defendants is, in fact, synthetically manufactured from a type of algae “fed a continuous diet of corn syrup in order to boost reproduction” and other non-organic processing aids that remain in the finished DHA additive.