The idea of buying an all-natural product is becoming more popular for consumers all over the country. More and more product manufacturers are claiming that their food products are all-natural and good for consumers. But there is a lawsuit brewing over the Newman’s Own line of sauces that could start a discussion about false marketing on all-natural products. The FDA wants consumers to be able to trust the product label they are reading, but there could be problems with the FDA laws that are allowing food companies to deceive the public.
Newman’s Own Accused Of Product Label Misrepresentation
It is well-known within the food industry that citric acid is not a natural food ingredient. It is made by cultivating certain synthetically created strands of black mold fungus, and its presence in any product should bring into question whether or not that product is all-natural. A man in New York bought a bottle of Newman’s Own sauce because he was attracted by the all-natural label. After purchasing the sauce, he read the ingredients and noticed citric acid on the list.
When the man discovered citric acid on his ingredients list, he went to check out the other Newman’s Own all-natural products to see if they had citric acid. In total, he found that 16 of the all-natural products had citric acid. He filed a civil lawsuit contending that Newman’s Own is making a profit by deceiving the public. As of April 2017, Newman’s Own has denied making any comment on the lawsuit.
The FDA And Marketing Defects
For all of the work the FDA does on a regular basis to protect consumers from bad advertising and defective medicines, it seems like the agency is only starting to scratch the surface of marketing defects that have been around for years. In April 2017, the FDA announced that it was reviewing the claims of some products that say that they either prevent or cure cancer. Manufacturers who are misleading the public with their advertising will be fined and their products pulled from the shelves.
Many manufacturers are responding quickly by either changing their advertising or pulling the products in question off the shelves immediately. While this looks to be a step in the right direction, the fact is that these claims of cancer cures have been around for a long time. Many medical experts are wondering what took the FDA so long to address this issue. When it comes to the claims that a product is all-natural, food consumers may be disappointed to find out that the FDA is behind on this issue as well.
The Rules Regarding All-Natural Food Labels
The man behind the Newman’s Own lawsuit may have an uphill battle on his hands for one significant reason; the FDA has no written guidelines when it comes to labeling all-natural foods. Many large food manufacturers such as Del Monte and ConAgra are currently putting out products that are labeled as all-natural, but contain ingredients known to be synthetic. In some cases, these synthetic ingredients are also known to be harmful to humans.
The FDA has very few ingredients that are officially classified as being synthetic. For example, the caramel coloring that comes in some root beer products is recognized as synthetic by the FDA, but that does not stop manufacturers who use the ingredient from calling their root beer all-natural. For consumers who are not familiar with which ingredients are natural and which are synthetic, it can almost be impossible to tell if the products they are buying are really all-natural. This is why the people behind the Newman’s Own lawsuit consider the suit to be so important, but it would have to convince the FDA to set a precedent to win.
If this Newman’s Own lawsuit is going to be successful for the plaintiffs, then they will have to convince the court to make a ruling based on no legal precedent. Not even the FDA has a clear definition of what an all-natural product is, and the FDA offers manufacturers plenty of leeways when it comes to making up their labels. This could be the lawsuit that finally forces the FDA to clearly define all-natural products, and prevents millions of consumers from being deceived by defective marketing labels.