Maker Of Puffins Cereal Settles Food Labeling Class-Action

Walking through the aisles of a grocery store trying to find the healthiest food for your family can be an overwhelming task. Foods containing labels such as "organic" and "natural" seem to be popping up everywhere, even on products that you would not associate with these characteristics. Fortunately, courts in California and across the country have begun to weigh in on whether these products should be marketed in that way.

Recently, Barbara's Bakery — the manufacturer of Puffins cereal and Weetabix — settled a class-action lawsuit over its use of the phrase "all natural" on its products.

Puffins Cereal Claimed To Be "All Natural"

The class-action suit was brought by an individual who purchased Puffins cereal because the cereal box contained the label "all natural." The man contended that the labeling was misleading, as the cereal contained GMOs, or genetically modified organisms.

Following mediation, Barbara's Bakery agreed to pay $4 million to settle the class-action suit. The settlement will be used to refund customers who bought Puffins cereal. Customers will be eligible to receive up to $100 and are not required to provide receipts from the purchase.

In addition to the monetary settlement, Barbara's Bakery also agreed to remove the labels "no artificial additives" and "natural" from its packaging across the country. The company also announced that it would begin removing GMOs from its products altogether, indicating the shift was brought about by consumer demand not the class-action suit.

Are Products Containing GMOs "All Natural?"

The class-action suit has brought up important questions that many are hopeful the Food and Drug Administration will address shortly. Thus far, the FDA has defined "natural" as products that do not contain preservatives, additives, sweeteners and artificial colors. The FDA has yet to indicate how it views products containing GMOs.

As the FDA has not weighed in on the issue yet, some food manufacturers have used the agency's silence as an opportunity to claim a product is "all natural" when it in fact contains GMOs. Consequently, consumers may be misled into thinking a product is safer and better for them than it is in reality.

Therefore, the next time you go to the grocery store, take a closer look at the products you are purchasing. If something you buy claims to be "all natural," do not take the manufacturer's word for it. If you believe a company has misleading labels, consider seeking the advice of a skilled legal professional to ensure your rights are protected.

The attorneys of Kawahito Shraga & Westrick, LLP, located in Los Angeles, are experienced representing clients in class-action suits involving fraudulent or misleading food labels. If you need assistance from our team of skilled lawyers, contact our office today.