Consumers more and more often desire to buy foods that are “natural,” including products from animals that have not been given certain substances in their feed. The complaint for this class action alleges the Kraft Heinz Company has been claiming that some of its dairy products were “natural,” when in fact they were made from milk from cows that had been given an artificial growth hormone.
Consumers nowadays “are concerned that the use of artificial growth hormones in animals raised for food is inhumane and contributes to health problems both for the animals and for the humans who consume the food,” the complaint says. “One such artificial hormone is recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST), which is also known as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH).” This hormone artificially unnaturally increases milk production.
Consumers may also be concerned about ingesting hormones, the complaint says, because some studies have suggested that the use of rbST may increase the risks of certain kinds of cancers. The complaint also alleges, “Compared to milk produced without rbST, milk from cows treated with rbST can have increased fat content and decreased level of proteins, as wel as higher counts of somatic cells (i.e., pus) which makes the milk turn sour more quickly.”
Kraft announced in January 2019 that its natural cheese would henceforth be made from milk that did not contain the artificial hormone rbST. Before this time, the complaint says, “Kraft labeled and marketed its products as ‘natural,’ even though they were made with milk from cows administered rbST.”
The complaint alleges that the designation in former times of the cheeses as “natural” “was false, deceptive, and misleading…”
Even worse, the complaint alleges, “[w]hile many of the Products are now made from milk produced without the artificial hormone rbST (collectively, the ‘Type A Products’), certain Kraft Natural Cheese products (e.g., varietites containing parmesan, asiago, and Romano cheese) continue to be made with milk from cows who were administered rbST (collectively, the ‘Type B Products’).
In other words, according to the complaint, Kraft used to deceive consumers with its “natural” representations on the Type A products and still continues to deceive them with its “natural” representations on the Type B products.
The class for this action is all consumers who bought the products in the US within the applicable statutes of limitations, while the Products contained rbST, until the date of certification of the class in this action.
Three subclasses have also been defined, including a Nationwide Type B Subclass, a California Subclass, and a California Type B Subclass.
The list of products is very long. It may be found in a large footnote on pages 2 and 3 of the class action, linked below.