Teas’ Tea “Slightly Sweet” Pomegranate Blueberry Green Tea New York Class Action

Ito-En (North America), Inc. makes a Teas’ Tea line of teas that include a Slightly Sweet—Pomegranate Blueberry Green Tea. The complaint for this class action takes issue with the “Slightly Sweet” claim, alleging that it is not permitted under federal regulations for food and beverages because this type of “low sugar” claim is not permitted.

The class for this class action is all those who live in New York who bought the product during the applicable statutes of limitations.

The second page of the complaint shows an image of a bottle of the Slightly Sweet Pomegranate Blueberry Green Tea product. Under the Teas’ Tea Organic label are the words “Slightly Sweet” and, below that, the tea flavor. Near the bottom of the label are images of blueberries and a clump of pomegranate arils in a bit of pomegranate peel.

The complaint also quotes one of the authors of a study as saying that low- or no-nutrient claims can mean different things for different foods. “This could potentially lead to confusion if consumers focus on seeking out products with specific nutrient claims or use a claim to justify the purchase of less-healthy foods.”

In the case of this product, the complaint adds, “The representation as ‘slightly sweet’ is understood by consumers to indicate the Product is ‘low sugar’ and contains less sugar than it does.”

In fact, the product’s nutrition label shows that it contains 20 grams of sugar. The complaint says the product is “[f]ar from being ‘slightly sweet’ and low in sugar…” It points out that this is 40% of the Daily Value for sugar.

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) permits claims for no sugar and relative amounts of sugar (“lower sugar”), but it does not permit the claim of “low sugar.” The complaint alleges, “To the extent that [Ito-En] claims ‘slightly sweet’ is a low sugar claim, that too is not allowed.” Also, it says, “Because “low sugar claims have never been authorized, they are prohibited.”

The complaint quotes a letter from the consumer advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) to the FDA on the Teas’ Tea product’s “Slightly Sweet” claim: “The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word ‘slight’ to mean ‘small … in amount…’ These words [slightly] are all synonymous with the word ‘low,’[] which is defined as ‘small in number or amount.’ Therefore the products bearing claims of … ‘slightly sweet’ [bears] [an] unauthorized implied ‘low sugar’ claim and are misbranded…”

Referring again to the CPSI letter, the complaint alleges that the product is “not only not ‘low’ in added sugars, but [is] actually ‘high’ in added sugars according to FDA’s standard definition for ‘high in’ claims[,]” which is “at least 20 percent of the DV…”

The complaint alleges violation of state consumer protection laws, negligent misrepresentation, and breaches of warranties, among other things.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Teas’ Tea “Slightly Sweet” Pomegranate Blueberry Green Tea New York Complaint

September 12, 2020

Ito-En (North America), Inc. makes a Teas’ Tea line of teas that include a Slightly Sweet—Pomegranate Blueberry Green Tea. The complaint for this class action takes issue with the “Slightly Sweet” claim, alleging that it is not permitted under federal regulations for food and beverages because this type of “low sugar” claim is not permitted.

Teas’ Tea “Slightly Sweet” Pomegranate Blueberry Green Tea New York Complaint

Case Event History

Teas’ Tea “Slightly Sweet” Pomegranate Blueberry Green Tea New York Complaint

September 12, 2020

Ito-En (North America), Inc. makes a Teas’ Tea line of teas that include a Slightly Sweet—Pomegranate Blueberry Green Tea. The complaint for this class action takes issue with the “Slightly Sweet” claim, alleging that it is not permitted under federal regulations for food and beverages because this type of “low sugar” claim is not permitted.

Teas’ Tea “Slightly Sweet” Pomegranate Blueberry Green Tea New York Complaint
Tags: Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels, Hiding Sugar