An Illinois consumer claims in a proposed class action that General Mills has falsely advertised its Fruit Roll-Ups as “naturally flavored” despite the fact that products allegedly contain malic acid, an artificial flavoring chemical.
An Illinois consumer claims in a proposed class action that General Mills has falsely advertised its Fruit Roll-Ups as “naturally flavored” despite that the products allegedly contain malic acid, an artificial flavoring chemical.
Filed against General Mills, Inc. and General Mills Sales, Inc., the 52-page lawsuit alleges that when consumers read the “naturally flavored” and “no artificial flavor” claims on packages of Fruit Roll-Ups, they are misled into thinking the snacks are flavored with only natural ingredients. In reality, the case says, Fruit Roll-Ups are flavored with malic acid, which the complaint describes as “an artificial petrochemical that confers a ‘tart, fruit-like’ flavor that simulates the flavor of actual fruit.”
The malic acid used in Fruit Roll-Ups is not naturally derived, according to the lawsuit, but is instead manufactured in petrochemical plants through “a series of chemical reactions involving highly toxic chemical precursors and byproducts.” No reasonable consumer would expect an artificial flavor such as malic acid to be present in a product touting “naturally flavored” claims, the case says.
“By affixing such labels to the packaging of the Products, Defendants entice consumers like Plaintiff to purchase the Products instead of competing products, to pay a premium for the Products, and to pay more for the them [sic] than they otherwise would have,” the complaint reads.
The plaintiff says she would not have paid the “premium price” of $1.00 per product had she known Fruit Roll-Ups contained a synthetic flavoring compound.
Originally filed in state court, the lawsuit has since been removed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. The original complaint can be read below.