A California resident has filed a putative nationwide class action against Trader Joe’s alleging that the company fails to disclose “the dangerously high” sodium content contained in its sunflower kernels and sunflower shells and then markets the products as a “good” or healthy snack. DiSimone v. Trader Joe’s Co., No. BC544924 (Cal. Super. Ct., Los Angeles Cty., filed May 6, 2014).

Claiming that the company deceives consumers by listing a single serving “with Shells” as containing 690 milligrams (mg) of sodium or “29%” of the total daily value established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the plaintiff contends that the seeds and shells, which are also placed in the mouth, actually contain more than 2,350 mg of sodium, an amount that far exceeds a large order of McDonald’s French fries at 350 mg of sodium. The plaintiff further asserts that the average consumer will eat more than one serving and thus “double or triple the FDA recommended daily intake of sodium for the entire day,” and, in fact, “[a] consumer eating an entire 8-ounce bag of Sunflower Seeds would consume 9,412 milligrams of sodium.”

Alleging violations of the state’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, False Advertising Law and Unfair Competition Law, the plaintiff seeks an order prohibiting the alleged misconduct, attorney’s fees and costs.


Issue 523

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.

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