The world’s #1 maker of breakfast cereals is food manufacturing giant,
Kellogg. In 2011 alone, Kellogg’s profits worldwide totaled 1.43
billion USD. Yet in recent years, Kellogg has come under fire for what
many have claimed to be deceptive and false advertising. In particular,
the use of the “All Natural” label on products that was not,
in actuality, completely natural.
Last month, Kellogg decided to quit using the “All Natural”
and “100% Natural” labels on several of their Kashi and Bear
Naked brands. In addition, they have agreed to pay greater than $5 million
as a settlement in the class action consumer fraud lawsuit that was currently
pending against them.
In recent years, class action lawsuits across the country have begun challenging
food manufacturers and their right to make specific claims on labels.
Misleading the general public into purchasing products that they believe
to be superior or all natural is a form of consumer fraud and false advertising.
In Kellogg’s case, consumers discovered that several products labeled
“All Natural” did indeed contain ingredients like pyridoxine
hydrochloride, calcium pantothenate, or hexane-processed soy oil.
While Kellogg did agree to a settlement, they did not however, admit to
false or misleading labeling. Their spokesman said in a statement that
they stood behind their advertising and would fulfill the terms of the
settlement agreement and stop using the labels “All Natural”
and “Nothing Artificial” on specific Kashi products. They
would also remove the labels “100% Natural” and “100%
Pure and Natural” from specific Bear Naked products.
More and more health conscious consumers continue to check labels and purchase
products for their nutritional value. As such, food manufacturers have
an ever greater responsibility not to mislead their consumers through
false and deceptive labeling. This settlement is just part of the growing
trend to hold food manufacturers responsible for ensuring truthfulness
in packaging and advertising.
Not only is deceptive food labeling misleading and fraudulent, but also
it is potentially dangerous to thousands of Americans with food sensitivities
and food allergies. It is important for consumers to be able to trust
food labels, packaging, and the manufacturers responsible for them. Consumers
have a right to demand transparency in their food choices-and now class
action lawsuits are holding food manufacturers responsible.