The parties to a putative class action against Merisant Co. and Whole Earth Sweetener Co. have agreed on settlement terms, including changes to the Pure Via sweetener’s website and packaging, class certification and a $1.65- million payment to a settlement fund. Aguiar v. Merisant Co., No. 14-670 (C.D. Cal., motion filed August 18, 2014). The plaintiff had alleged that Merisant and Whole Earth label, advertise and market Pure Via products as natural, which she argued was false and deceptive. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, Merisant and Whole Earth agreed to add an asterisk to Pure Via packaging with a statement that directs consumers to the product website, which will explain the process of producing Pure Via from stevia to provide consumers with “significant information to make their own determination as to whether they deem Pure Via to be ‘natural.’” In addition, Merisant and Whole Earth have agreed to class certification for the purposes of distributing the $1.65-million settlement fund to purchasers who submit valid claims, with leftover funds donated to the American Diabetes Association.


Issue 535

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.