A proposed class action alleges Drip Drop Hydration’s oral rehydration powders are falsely advertised and misbranded in that the electrolyte replacement supplements are not as “naturally flavored” as buyers are led to expect.
The 23-page suit says that depictions of fruits being poured into water on the supplements’ labels to emphasize the flavor of the powders signals to reasonable consumers that the products are flavored “only by the depicted fruits.”
However, each of the supplements contains an artificial version of malic acid, a synthetic substance used to impart a sweet and tart flavor, the lawsuit states.
According to the filing, the type of malic acid found in the Drip Drop Hydration supplements is “manufactured in petrochemical plants from benzene or butane … through a series of chemical reactions, some of which involve highly toxic chemical precursors and byproducts.” Although there exists a naturally occurring form of malic acid, it is “extremely expensive” to make in large quantities and is almost never found in mass-produced foods, the case says.
Per the suit, testing done by “an independent third-party laboratory” has confirmed that Drip Drop Hydration’s oral rehydration solutions, which are meant to be taken after workouts to rehydrate, contain the synthetic version of malic acid, called DL malic acid. Drip Drop Hydration uses DL malic acid to lend the supplements the sweet and tart flavors of acai berries, concord grapes, pineapples and coconuts while “conflating natural and artificial flavorings, misbranding the Products and deceiving consumers,” the case relays.
Under California law, a food’s label must accurately describe the product and its characterizing flavors, the suit stresses. An artificial flavor is considered “any substance, the function of which is to impart flavor, which is not derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof,” according to the lawsuit.
For the Drip Drop Hydration supplements at issue, the products’ labels both state the characterizing flavor—acai berries, concord grapes, pineapples or coconuts—and “reinforce” the statement of the characterizing flavor by displaying images of fruit, the case asserts.
If a food’s characterizing flavor is not created exclusively by the named flavor ingredient, the product’s front label must state that the product’s flavor was simulated or reinforced with either natural or artificial flavorings, or both, the suit states. If any artificial flavor is present that “simulates, resembles or reinforces” the characterizing flavor, the front label must disclose in boldface print that the product is “artificially flavored,” the complaint says.
“Because the Products contain artificial flavoring, California law requires the Products to display both front- and back-label disclosures to inform consumers that the Products are artificially flavored,” the filing reads. “The Products have none of the required disclosures regarding the use of artificial flavors.”
The suit looks to cover all consumers in the United States who bought Drip Drop Hydration oral rehydration solution powders within the last four years.
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Camp Lejeune residents now have the opportunity to claim compensation for harm suffered from contaminated water.