General Mills Fruit Flavored Character Snacks Artificial Flavoring Class Action

The complaint for this class action claims that certain General Mills fruit-flavored snacks are misbranded, with false and misleading labeling and advertising, because they purport to contain only natural ingredients and flavors when in fact they contain malic acid, an artificial flavoring ingredient.

The class for this action is all California citizens who bought the products in California on or after January 1, 2012.

The General Mills fruit-flavored, sugary snack products at issue here are formed in the shape of popular children’s movie and TV characters:

  • Scooby-Doo Fruit Flavored Snacks
  • Despicable Me Fruit Flavored Snacks
  • Star Wars Fruit Flavored Snacks
  • Dora the Explorer Fruit Flavored Snacks
  • DC Superhero Girls Fruit Flavored Snacks
  • Shark Bites Fruit Flavored Snacks
  • SpongeBob Fruit Flavored Snacks
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fruit Flavored Snacks
  • El Chavo Fruit Flavored Snacks
  • Thomas and Friends Fruit Flavored Snacks

According to the complaint, these products are all labeled and advertised as if they contain no artificial flavors or other artificial ingredients. For example, the complaint contains an image of the Scooby-Doo snacks with a square on the front proclaiming, “Now with NO artificial flavors NO colors from artificial sources” and another claiming that the product is “naturally flavored.”

However, according to the complaint, these statements are false, because the products all contain a chemical synthetic-flavoring ingredient called malic acid. The complaint says that malic acid provides a “tart, fruit-like” flavor.

The complaint claims that the ingredient lists violate state and federal laws because they identify this ingredient just by the generic name of “malic acid,” when the law requires the specific name. According to the complaint, the ingredient used is d-l malic acid, which is a synthetic made from benzene or butane, also ingredients of gasoline and lighter fluid, respectively.

The complaint says, because the products contain an artificial flavoring ingredients, federal and state laws require that front and back labels must disclose this to consumers. In fact, the labeling does the opposite, claiming that “No artificial flavors” are used.

Under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and California laws, “fruit flavored” is the products’ “characterizing flavor”; and if the characterizing flavor is not created exclusively by the characterizing ingredient, and an artificial ingredient “simulates, resembles or reinforces” it, then the label must state that the product is “Artificially flavored.” The complaint says that malic acid plays this role in the products, and the products are therefore misbranded.

The complaint says that the company has violated unfair competition laws as well as California consumer protection laws and has breached express and implied warranties. 

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

General Mills Fruit Flavored Character Snacks Artificial Flavoring Complaint

February 21, 2018

The complaint for this class action claims that certain General Mills fruit-flavored snacks are misbranded, with false and misleading labeling and advertising, because they purport to contain only natural ingredients and flavors when in fact they contain malic acid, an artificial flavoring ingredient.

scoobie_doo_natural_snacks_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

General Mills Fruit Flavored Character Snacks Artificial Flavoring Complaint

February 21, 2018

The complaint for this class action claims that certain General Mills fruit-flavored snacks are misbranded, with false and misleading labeling and advertising, because they purport to contain only natural ingredients and flavors when in fact they contain malic acid, an artificial flavoring ingredient.

scoobie_doo_natural_snacks_complaint.pdf
Tags: Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels, No Artificial Flavors Claims