A proposed class action out of New York alleges that Annie’s Homegrown, Inc. has misled consumers into thinking its products are free of preservatives when they’re actually not.
According to the lawsuit, Annie’s attempts to capitalize on consumers’ desire for healthier, nutritious products by advertising in marketing materials and on product labels that its packaged foods are preservative-free. The case alleges, however, that these representations are misleading because many of Annie’s products contain citric acid, ascorbic acid, and/or tocopherols. Citing U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines, the lawsuit claims the use of these ingredients as preservatives has been “well-documented” and that Annie’s intentionally meant to deceive the plaintiff and others into thinking its products are healthier than they really are. From the complaint:
“A representation that a product has no preservatives is material to a reasonable consumer when deciding to purchase it. Plaintiff did, and a reasonable consumer would, attach importance to whether Defendant’s Products were free of preservatives because it is common knowledge that consumers prefer to avoid foods with potentially unhealthy additives (see consumer behavior research above). Defendant would not have included these representations on the Product labels if this was not going to influence consumer behavior.”
The lawsuit names the following Annie’s products and the preservative(s) they allegedly contain: