A proposed class action lawsuit alleges Campbell Soup Co. has falsely advertised on product labels and online that its “Home Style” and “Slow Kettle” soups contain no added preservatives or artificial flavors.
According to the 22-page suit out of Illinois, Campbell’s description of its soups as made with “no artificial flavors and no added preservatives or colors,” among other claims, is deceptive to a reasonable consumer given the products, in truth, contain citric acid, ascorbic acid, succinic acid, sodium phosphate and/or xanthan gum.
Further, the lawsuit claims the following list of Campbell’s products, contrary to the company’s representations, contain artificial flavors given they’re made with commercially manufactured monosodium glutamate, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, citric acid and/or succinic acid:
Home Style Harvest Tomato With Basil;
Home Style Healthy Request Harvest With Basil;
Home Style Zesty Tomato Bisque;
Home Style New England Clam Chowder;
Home Style Light New England Clam Chowder;
Home Style Vegetable Medley;
Home Style Minestrone;
Home Style Potato Broccoli Cheese;
Slow Kettle Tomato & Sweet Basil Bisque;
Slow Kettle Roasted Red Pepper & Smoked Gouda Bisque;
Slow Kettle New England Clam Chowder;
Slow Kettle New England Clam Chowder With Fresh Cream; and
Slow Kettle Creamy Broccoli Cheddar Bisque.
The complaint asserts neither the plaintiffs nor other consumers would have paid the purchase price for the above-listed Campbell’s soups had they known the products contained preservatives, artificial flavors and added colors.
According to the complaint, citric acid is used in processed and canned foods to “artificially create or alter flavor, to artificially slow or prevent discoloration and to artificially slow or prevent spoilage.” The suit says Campbell’s has stated on its website that it uses commercially made citric acid as a means to “control the acidity of the sauce and make sure it’s shelf stable and safe.” The defendant uses ascorbic acid in a similar way, stating online that it uses the component to “replace naturally-occurring vitamin C in tomatoes that may be lost during preparation and cooking of the soup,” the lawsuit says, noting every other additive used by Campbell’s serves to enhance flavor and texture.
As a result of the manner in which it has “fraudulently” labeled its products, Campbell’s has been able to charge a premium price for soups consumers buy under the false belief that they’re free of artificial additives, the lawsuit alleges.
Initially filed March 6 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, the lawsuit has been removed to Illinois’ Southern District Court.
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