Tag Archives citric acid

A consumer has filed a putative class action challenging La Lechonera Products Inc.'s "all natural" and "no preservatives" representations on its marinade packaging, alleging that the presence of citric acid and canola oil in the product preclude the company from making those marketing claims. Williams v. La Lechonera Prods. Inc., No. 2018-39361-CA-01 (Fla Cir. Ct., 11th Jud. Dist., filed November 26, 2018). The complaint asserts that canola oil and citric acid are substantially processed and synthetic ingredients. The plaintiff alleges that La Lechonera injured him and other consumers in 14 ways, including that the consumers "paid a sum of money for Products that were not as represented," "ingested a substance that Plaintiff and other members of the Class did not expect or consent to," "were denied the benefit of truthful food labels," and "were forced unwittingly to support an industry that contributes to environmental, ecological, and/or health damage." The plaintiff…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Reed's Inc. misleads consumers by labeling its Virgil's Sodas as made with "natural ingredients" and "no preservatives" despite containing citric acid. Mason v. Reed's Inc., No. 18-10826 (S.D.N.Y., filed November 19, 2018). The complaint asserts that citric acid "is a synthetic compound" "usually produced from certain strains of the mold Aspergillus niger" and "the application of chemical solvents such as sulfuric acid." The plaintiff alleges that the company's "misrepresentations deceive consumers into thinking they are receiving healthier and 'natural' soda, when they are not." "Consumers cannot discover the true nature of the Products from reading the label," the plaintiff argues. "Discovery of the true nature of the content of the Products requires knowledge of chemistry that is not available to the average reasonable consumer." She seeks class certification, an injunction requiring "proper, complete, and accurate labeling of the products," damages…

Two consumers have filed a putative class action alleging that Kraft Heinz Food Co. misleads consumers by marketing Capri Sun beverages as free of preservatives despite containing citric acid. Tarzian v. Kraft Heinz Food Co., No. 18-7148 (N.D. Ill., E. Div., filed October 25, 2018). "Citric acid serves as a preservative by functioning as an acidity regulator and acidulant," the complaint alleges. "[W]hile citric acid can also be employed to impart taste, a greater quantity of it is required to impart taste than to preserve foods and beverages. The preservative effects of citric acid may be reduced at lower levels, but it will still be present. [] Thus, Defendant cannot argue that it includes citric acid in the Products merely to impart added taste, because the quantities required to impart taste are more than sufficient to function as preservatives." For alleged violations of Illinois and New York consumer-protection statutes, the…

Three consumers have filed a putative class action alleging that Arizona Beverage Co.’s teas, energy drinks and fruit juices are misleadingly marketed as containing “no preservatives” despite containing citric and ascorbic acids. Kubilius v. Arizona Beverage Co., No. 18-9075 (S.D.N.Y., filed October 3, 2018). The plaintiffs assert that they paid a premium for the products believing them to be preservative-free but later discovered that the products contain citric and ascorbic acid, which allegedly “serve as preservatives by functioning as sequestrants, removing compounds and elements from their environment so as to slow the degradation of food and beverages.” The complaint also cites a declaration from a food scientist who asserts that “while citric acid and ascorbic acid can also be employed by a manufacturer that intends to impart taste, a greater quantity of these substances is required to impart taste than to preserve foods and beverages. … Even if imparting taste…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Barilla America Inc. misleads consumers because its pasta sauces, which are labeled as including "No Preservatives," contain citric acid. Kubilius v. Barilla Am. Inc., No. 18-6656 (N.D. Ill., E. Div., filed October 1, 2018). The complaint contends that several authorities identify citric acid as a preservative, including "insiders in the preservative manufacturing and distribution industries" and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which allegedly "expressly classifies citric acid as a preservative in its Overview of Food Ingredients, Additives, and Colors." The plaintiff seeks class certification, damages, restitution, injunctions and attorney's fees for allegations of fraud and violations of New York and Illinois consumer-protection statutes.

Diamond Foods LLC faces a putative class action alleging Kettle Foods potato chips are marketed as “Made with Natural Ingredients” and “No Preservatives” but contain citric acid. Mason v. Diamond Foods LLC, No. 18-6423 (S.D.N.Y., filed July 16, 2018). The complaint identifies several flavors of chips that allegedly contain the “synthetic compound,” purportedly produced from mold strains and sulfuric acid. Claiming violations of several states' consumer-protection statutes, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, breach of warranties and common law fraud, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging PVK Inc. mislabels Scarpetta pasta sauces as containing “No Preservatives” despite including citric acid on the ingredient list. Jocelyn v. PVK Inc., No. 18-427 (E.D.N.Y., filed January 22, 2018). The plaintiff alleges that she relied on the representation on the container and would not have purchased the sauce had she known it contained preservatives. Claiming deceptive and unfair trade practices, false advertising and common-law fraud, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, restitution, disgorgement, damages, corrective advertising and attorney’s fees.

A Pennsylvania federal court has dismissed without prejudice a consumer lawsuit alleging Herr Foods Inc. labels its snack products as free from added preservatives despite containing citric acid. Hu v. Herr Foods, Inc., No. 16­5037 (E.D. Pa., order entered April 24, 2017). Additional information on the complaint appears in Issue 609 of this Update. Herr moved for a judgment on the pleadings, arguing that the citric acid in its products was not serving as a preservative. The court dismissed the claim for unjust enrichment but granted leave to amend claims for alleged violations of New York laws governing deceptive acts and practices, noting that the deficiency “is a lack of allegations supporting plaintiff’s conclusory statement that citric acid functions as a preservative in the products, which plaintiff could remedy by pleading appropriate supporting facts.”   Issue 632

An Oregon plaintiff has filed a putative class action against the makers of Cascade Ice Coconut Water alleging the product contains no coconut. Silva v. Unique Beverage Co., LLC, No. 17­-0391 (D. Or., filed March 9, 2017). The complaint alleges that “[d]espite the large colorful coconuts and the word 'Coconut' that defendant puts on the front of its label, defendant’s product actually contains no coconut water, no coconut juice, no coconut pulp, no coconut jelly.” The plaintiff also claims that consumers buy coconut water for its “special health qualities,” making its sales a “billion-­dollar industry.” Washington-­based Cascade Ice’s label lists the primary ingredients of the coconut water product as carbonated water, strawberry puree, citric acid, pear juice concentrate and “natural flavors.” For violations of the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act, the plaintiff seeks equitable and injunctive relief, actual, statutory and punitive damages and attorney’s fees.   Issue 628

A consumer has filed a projected class action alleging Newman’s Own, Inc. misleadingly markets its pasta sauce products as natural despite containing citric acid. Wong v. Newman’s Own, Inc., No. 16-6690 (E.D.N.Y., filed November 30, 2016). The complaint asserts the company “deceptively used the term ‘natural’ to describe a product containing ingredients that have been either extensively chemically processed or fundamentally altered from their natural state and thus cannot be considered ‘minimally processed.’” The plaintiff admits “there is not an exacting definition of ‘natural’ in reference to food,” but cites the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a decision from the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2005 Food Standards and Labeling Policy Book to support his definition. For alleged violations of New York’s consumer-protection statutes, the plaintiff seeks class certification, restitution, damages, an injunction and attorney’s fees.   Issue 625

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