A Florida resident has filed a complaint on behalf of a nationwide class of consumers against Frito-Lay, alleging that it sells the company’s snack foods, such as Tostitos® chips, Sunchips® and bean dip, as “All Natural” without disclosing that they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Foust v. Frito-Lay N. Am., Inc., No. 12-21975 (S.D. Fla., filed May 25, 2012). According to the complaint, “The Product poses a potential threat to consumers because medical research and scientific studies have yet to determine the long-term health effects of genetically engineered foods. Recent studies suggest that GMOs may in fact be harmful to a consumer’s health.” Still, the plaintiff does not allege personal injury, claiming instead that he would not have purchased the product “if he had known that the Defendant could not support their [sic] claim that the Product is all natural because it contains GMOs.”

In this regard, the plaintiff notes that he is not contending that Frito-Lay was required to state whether its products were made from GMO plants, “as this issue would be pre-empted under the NLEA [National Labeling and Education Act]. Rather Plaintiff contend[s] that Defendant’s affirmative decision to label its Product “ALL NATURAL” without also disclosing the fact the Product contains GMO is misleading, given that the Products were made using GMO.” Alleging violations of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, unjust enrichment, negligent and intentional misrepresentation, fraudulent concealment, breach of implied warranty of fitness for purpose and express warranty, and violation of the Magnuson-Moss Act, the plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, actual and punitive damages, attorney’s fees, costs, and interest.

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.