Kirkland Optifiber “Natural” Prebiotic Fiber Supplement Class Action

In 2019, the global market for supplements was estimated at more than $80 billion. One product in this market was Costco Wholesale Corporation’s Kirkland Optifiber Natural Prebiotic Fiber Supplement. But is it natural? The complaint for this class action claims that it is not, because it contains wheat dextrin, a synthetic ingredient.

The class for this action is all consumers who bought the product anywhere in the US during the applicable statute of limitations. A New York Subclass has also been defined, for those who bought the product in New York.

Consumers these days, by a wide proportion, prefer natural products, and they are willing to pay more for them than for products with artificial ingredients. Unfortunately, the complaint says, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not have the resources to police the very large market for supplements.

The complaint for this class action alleges that Costco makes and sells the Optifiber product “using a marketing and advertising campaign centered around claims that appeal to health-conscious consumers, i.e., that its Product is ‘Natural.’”

A photograph of the product is reproduced in the complaint. Directly below the “Optifiber” name are the words “A Natural Prebiotic Fiber Supplement.” But the complaint says this designation is false because the product contains wheat dextrin. In fact, another photograph shows the back of the product, with the ingredient “list,” which shows that the sole ingredient is wheat dextrin.

The complaint claims, “On May 14, 2020, the National Advertising Division (NAD), which is charged with monitoring and evaluating truth and accuracy in national advertising, conducted an investigation and determined that wheat dextrin, which is created from wheat starch using a multi-stage chemical process involving hydrochloric acid and enzymes, is not a natural ingredient…”

NAD reached its conclusion, the complaint says, because of “the complex chemical process used to produce the wheat dextrin” with NAD noting that the process “transforms the source ingredient—wheat starch—which is digestible and has 0% dietary fiber, into a new ingredient—wheat dextrin—which is non-digestible and has 85% dietary fiber.” Taking the process into consideration, NAD decided that “ingredients that are derived from nature and undergo significant chemical alterations are often not ‘natural’ in the way that consumers expect them to be.”

Also, the complaint says, the “FDA’s Review of the Scientific Evidence on the Physiological Effects of Certain Non-Digestible Carbohydrates expressly calls wheat dextrin a ‘synthetic’ non-digestible carbohydrate.”

This designation of wheat dextrin is also supported by the Draft Guidance Decision Tree for Classification of Materials as Synthetic or Nonsynthetic (Natural), from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Congress has defined synthetic as “a substance that is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process or by a process that chemically changes a substance extracted from naturally occurring plants, animals, or mineral sources…”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Kirkland Optifiber “Natural” Prebiotic Fiber Supplement Complaint

September 11, 2020

In 2019, the global market for supplements was estimated at more than $80 billion. One product in this market was Costco Wholesale Corporation’s Kirkland Optifiber Natural Prebiotic Fiber Supplement. But is it natural? The complaint for this class action claims that it is not, because it contains wheat dextrin, a synthetic ingredient.

Kirkland Optifiber “Natural” Prebiotic Fiber Supplement Complaint

Case Event History

Kirkland Optifiber “Natural” Prebiotic Fiber Supplement Complaint

September 11, 2020

In 2019, the global market for supplements was estimated at more than $80 billion. One product in this market was Costco Wholesale Corporation’s Kirkland Optifiber Natural Prebiotic Fiber Supplement. But is it natural? The complaint for this class action claims that it is not, because it contains wheat dextrin, a synthetic ingredient.

Kirkland Optifiber “Natural” Prebiotic Fiber Supplement Complaint
Tags: All Natural Claims, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels