The Hershey Company and subsidiary One Brands, LLC have been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit that claims the companies’ ONE protein bars, despite what their labels indicate, contain “substantially more sugar and cholesterol than the listed amounts and virtually no dietary fiber.”
According to the complaint, the defendants represent on the labels for their ONE protein bars that the products contain one gram of sugar, five milligrams of cholesterol and nine grams of dietary fiber. The lawsuit claims that these representations are inaccurate, however, and are significantly misleading to consumers.
Independent testing cited in the suit allegedly revealed that the products contain on average 1.4 grams of sugar, or 40 percent more than the value stated on labels. The tests also purportedly determined that the products contain 9.8 milligrams of cholesterol – 96 percent more than the labels claim – and a mere 0.36 grams of dietary fiber, which is 96 percent less than advertised.
Under the federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), a product that includes sugar, calories, total fat, cholesterol or sodium content on its label is considered misbranded if it contains more than 20 percent in excess of the amount listed, according to the case. Additionally, a product that includes label statements pertaining to dietary fiber must contain at least 80 percent of the listed amount if the nutrient is naturally occurring, or 100 percent if it is fortified with fiber, the lawsuit explains.
The case contends that the defendants’ labeling of its ONE bar products does not meet the FDCA’s requirements and therefore amounts to deceptive advertising and a breach of express warranty. According to the lawsuit, the products’ “ONE” name is also misleading in that it is coupled on the front display panel with a statement that the products contain only one gram of sugar. The complaint claims that consumers relied on the defendants’ representations when purchasing ONE bars and would have been less likely to purchase the products had they known their true nature.
The lawsuit looks to represent a class covering all U.S. citizens who bought the defendants’ products within the relevant statute of limitations period and all California citizens who purchased ONE bars within four years of the complaint’s filing.