Ricola USA, Inc. finds itself as the defendant in a proposed class action that alleges the company’s “naturally soothing” herb throat drops contain “synthetic, artificial, and/or genetically modified ingredients.” According to the 36-page complaint out of New York’s Western District, Ricola USA deceptively advertises and misleadingly labels its throat drops in an effort to appeal to consumers willing to pay a premium for natural goods.
The specific Ricola flavors alleged in the lawsuit to contain synthetic ingredients, such as malic acid, aspartame, ascorbic acid, citric acid, and sodium ascorbate, include:
- Cherry honey;
- Green tea with echinacea;
- Honey lemon with echinacea;
- Lemon mint;
- Lemon mint, sugar free;
- Mixed berry with vitamin C;
- Original Swiss herb; and
- Swiss cherry.
According to the lawsuit, Ricola’s claims that its throat drop products are “naturally soothing” are material to consumers. The defendant’s allegedly intentional non-disclosure of the presence of the aforementioned synthetic ingredients “is deceptive” and likely to mislead a reasonable consumer, the suit says. Moreover, the case alleges, it was done for the sake of profit.
“Defendant marketed and advertised the Products as ‘Naturally Soothing’ to increase sales of the Products and Defendant is well-aware that claims of food being ‘Naturally Soothing’ are material to consumers,” the lawsuit reads. “Despite knowing that not all of the ingredients are ‘Naturally Soothing,’ Defendant engaged in a widespread marketing and advertising campaign to portray the Products as being ‘Naturally Soothing.’”
The lawsuit looks to represent proposed classes of consumers nationwide and in New York who purchased any of the above-referenced Ricola USA products between the date of this lawsuit’s filing and the date notice is provided to class members.