Tropicana Manufacturing Company, Inc. and PepsiCo., Inc. are on the receiving end of a proposed class action that alleges the companies falsely label and advertise Tropicana’s Pure Premium 100% Orange Juice with Calcium & Vitamin D as exclusively containing natural ingredients.
The 24-page suit out of California claims Tropicana and PepsiCo’s marketing and labeling of the product aim to give consumers the impression that the beverage is all natural. In truth, the suit says, the orange juice contains d-1 malic acid, an “undisclosed artificial flavoring ingredient.”
“[Defendants] failed to include the legally required ‘artificially flavored’ disclosure on the Product’s label,” the case reads. “Under these circumstances, the Product’s labels violate California and federal statutes and state common law in multiple respects.”
While there exists in nature a compound that is sometimes referred to informally as malic acid, called “l-malic acid,” the variant of this compound found in Tropicana’s Pure Premium 100% Orange Juice with Calcium & Vitamin D, “d-l malic acid,” is not naturally occurring, according to the complaint. The compound is instead manufactured from benzene or butane, components of gasoline and lighter fluid, through a series of chemical reactions, the lawsuit says.
Per the case, California law, which mirrors the U.S. Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, mandates that food labels “accurately describe the nature of the food product and its characterizing flavors.”