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Tootsie Roll Partially Hydrogenated Oil and Trans Fat California Class Action

Were Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops made until recently with an unhealthy substance, that is, partially hydrogenated oil (PHO)? The complaint for this class action says they were, despite a declaratory order from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

The class for this action is all citizens of California who bought Tootsie products in California that contained partially hydrogenated oil between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2016.

In 2013, the FDA proposed to regulate PHO as unsafe. It issued its final regulation and declaratory order on June 16, 2015, declaring PHO was unsafe for any use in food. According to the complaint, “PHO causes cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, [and] Alzheimer’s disease, and accelerates memory damage and cognitive decline.”

The complaint says that even before the final regulation was issued, PHO never appeared on the GRAS (generally regarded as safe) list of food additives. “For this reason,” it says, Tootsie Roll Industries, “before using PHO, was required by law to either file a food additive petition with the FDA and await a positive result, or else perform a GRAS self-determination by reviewing scientific evidence for a consensus that PHO is safe…” The complaint says that the company did not do either. 

Why should Tootsie Roll want to use PHO? According to the complaint, PHO is made from low-cost legumes, such as corn oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil, and peanut oil, while the saturated fat that might substitute for it is made from more expensive animal and tropical plant sources, such as butter, cream, tallow, palm oil, and coconut oil. 

PHO contains trans fats, which are also known to be harmful to human beings. The complaint quotes the FDA as saying, in 2010, that “there have been no reports issued by authoritative sources that provide a level of trans fat in the diet … below which there is no risk of” coronary heart disease. Instead, there “is a positive linear trend between trans fatty acid intake and LDL cholesterol concentration, and therefore there is a positive relationship between trans fatty acid intake and the risk of” coronary heart disease.

The complaint goes on to cite studies that link PHO to the other health problems noted above and to note that PHO is banned in places in the US and Europe.

Among its counts, the complaint cites California’s Unfair Competition Law and claims that the company has breached its implied warranty of merchantability.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Tootsie Roll Partially Hydrogenated Oil and Trans Fat California Complaint

December 26, 2018

Were Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops made until recently with an unhealthy substance, that is, partially hydrogenated oil (PHO)? The complaint for this class action says they were, despite a declaratory order from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

tootsie_roll_pho_and_trans_fat_compl.pdf

Case Event History

Tootsie Roll Partially Hydrogenated Oil and Trans Fat California Complaint

December 26, 2018

Were Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Pops made until recently with an unhealthy substance, that is, partially hydrogenated oil (PHO)? The complaint for this class action says they were, despite a declaratory order from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

tootsie_roll_pho_and_trans_fat_compl.pdf
Tags: Breach of warranty, Unfair Competition