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Nestle USA Misleading “No GMO Ingredients” Certification Class Action

How do we know that the food products we buy are up to certain standards? We rely on independent third parties to do the research that we can’t do individually and certify that the products meet those standards. However, the complaint for this class action claims that the “No GMO Ingredients” certification on Nestle USA, Inc.’s products does not come from a third party but from the company itself, and that its requirements are not as rigorous.

The class for this action is all persons who bought any of Nestle USA’s products bearing the No GMO Ingedients seal label within the applicable limitations period.

Consumers may have a variety of reasons for not wanting to buy food containing GMOs (genetically-modified organisms). Third-party validation companies have emerged to serve this interest. They review the ingredients in products to insure that the products (1) do not contain GMOs and (2) do not come from animals fed GMO feed. The certification seal is important because consumers do not have the means to research these products and their sources on their own.

One well-known certifier is the Non-GMO Project, which claims to be based on “rigorous scientific foundation and world-class technical support.” It works with the Global ID Group, which it says is considered “the world leaders in GMO testing, certification, and consulting.”

The complaint claims that the seal used on Nestle’s products “mimics” the Non-GMO Project seal, being similar in color, design, appearance, and placement on the products.

Unfortunately, there is no third-party behind Nestle’s seal, the complaint says; it is assigned by Nestle’s itself. And the complaint claims that its standards are not as rigorous—for example, products may contain dairy that comes from cows fed GMO grains. The complaint therefore contends that consumers are being deceived and are not getting the benefits of independent, third-party certification.

The complaint claims that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recognizes the value of certification and has warned companies against false certifications. It quotes the FTC guidelines on “Certifications and Seals of Approval” as saying, “It is deceptive to misrepresent, directly or by implication, that a product, package, or service has been endorsed or certified by an independent third party.”

According to the complaint, Nestle’s self-certification seal violates this rule. The complaint also claims violations of California laws, including its Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Nestle USA Misleading “No GMO Ingredients” Certification Complaint

July 27, 2018

How do we know that the food products we buy are up to certain standards? We rely on independent third parties to do the research that we can’t do individually and certify that the products meet those standards. However, the complaint for this class action claims that the “No GMO Ingredients” certification on Nestle USA, Inc.’s products does not come from a third party but from the company itself, and that its requirements are not as rigorous. 

nestle_nongmo_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

Nestle USA Misleading “No GMO Ingredients” Certification Complaint

July 27, 2018

How do we know that the food products we buy are up to certain standards? We rely on independent third parties to do the research that we can’t do individually and certify that the products meet those standards. However, the complaint for this class action claims that the “No GMO Ingredients” certification on Nestle USA, Inc.’s products does not come from a third party but from the company itself, and that its requirements are not as rigorous. 

nestle_nongmo_complaint.pdf
Tags: Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels, Deceptive Misrepresentation, Deceptive or False Certification