In the latest battle within the food industry over what to call and what not to call “all natural,” mega-corporation General Mills was forced to remove the label “100% Natural” from more than 20 of its products, including its Nature Valley snack bars and crispy squares. This is yet more evidence that the food movement is having a much-needed impact, even on mega-corps such as General Mills.
According to the settlement, General Mills has agreed to stop using the term “100% Natural” on any product that contains more than 0.9 percent of synthetically produced ingredients. These ingredients include things like high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, sodium bicarbonate, and more. Even more importantly, GM says it will no longer use the all natural label on products containing more than 0.9 percent of genetically modified ingredients.
Interestingly, Consumer Reports found that more than half of Americans believe that “all natural” means genetically modified ingredients aren’t used. What’s more, 8 out of 10 consumers believe “natural” means were not used to make the food, and that no artificial ingredients are used.
The settlement was sparked by four lawsuits filed by consumers and advocacy groups in 2012 that accused General Mills of making misleading statements by marketing its Nature Valley products as natural when they contained genetically modified and processed ingredients.
Not surprisingly, General Mills is far from the only guilty company misleading the public with the ‘all natural’ label. Heinz was recently called to task over the “all natural” claim on its bottles of white vinegar. Plaintiff Debbie Banafsheha says Heinz Distilled White Vinegar can’t be considered natural at all, because it’s made with GMO corn.
In another case, a U.S. District judge in Florida has denied Kashi’s (owned by Kellogg’s) bid to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the corporation for advertising Kashi as ‘all natural.’ Another huge step forward for companies who think they can continue to hoodwink the public with false and misleading claims on their products.
There is no doubt that more companies are being sued every year by consumers and advocacy groups for misleading the public. Lawyers estimate at least 100 lawsuits were filed between 2011 and 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported. In addition to the companies mentioned above, consumers have targeted PepsiCo., Campbell. , Ben & Jerry’s, Kashi, Skinnygirl and many of other food and drink brands.
They will continue to do so for as long as possible to rake in the profits, but it seems that this faulty advertising is quickly coming to and end. Good work.