Physical danger or personal harm is usually the last thing on someone’s mind when they take a sip of store-bought juice, or bite into a hamburger from a fast food drive-thru, or give their child breakfast cereal in the morning. This is because food safety is not something American consumers expect to have to consider when purchasing groceries. Still, all-too-often, companies label their products as safe even though they contain hidden dangers.
Kraft Heinz Co. is facing a new class action lawsuit in the US District Court, Illinois, for allegedly omitting crucial information from its Capri Sun beverage labels. Complainants allege the company claims the drinks are “all natural” when in fact this is not the case. This is because the drinks, they say, contain polyfluoralkyl substances, or PFAS.
PFAS are dangerous chemicals which are used to create non-stick cookware, as well as firefighting foams. These same chemicals are also called “forever chemicals.” This name indicates their robust molecular bonds which take forever (well, almost) to degrade – thousands of years, actually. They’re not good for the environment and certainly not good for one’s body. They’re also not something people would expect to find inside an “all natural” drink.
Consumers tend to believe the best of companies when they buy something – and even the more suspicious of consumers tend to trust that the labels on their food and other goods they buy are accurate. If it says it on the package, or box, or bottle or label, then surely it must be true.
Yet we consistently see that is not always the case. From drug labels to food ingredients, corporations tend to omit or misrepresent the dangers of their products. Without lawsuits like these, no one is holding them accountable.
In the past Kraft Heinz Co. has shown itself to be responsive to customer concerns when it volunteered to recall 5 760 cases of Capri Sun wild cherry-flavored drinks for the benefit of consumers. Diluting cleaning fluid used on the machines mistakenly entered the production line!
So how the company responds to this next legal challenge should be interesting.
Still, all of the legal hype gets one thinking about just how safe our mass-consumed food and beverages really are, and how negligence from food companies in clarifying the composition of food and beverage products could be linked to various ailments like cancer – as PFAS have been linked to this.
The integrity of food and beverage companies has come into the spotlight time and time again – and there have been some interesting lawsuits which have made news headlines.
In 2018, a plaintiff named Julie Fletcher noticed that the word “ginger” did not appear in the list of ingredients of Canada Dry. She alleged she was mistakenly made to believe that Canada Dry contains ginger root in its sodas – and even thought she was getting a healthy alternative to regular sodas.
Then there’s the case of the Greek yogurts by a well-known yogurt manufacturer which two men believed weren’t Greek enough. The result? They decided to sue the company, claiming the yogurts to be as healthy and nutritious as a fudge ice cream bar.
Lawsuits like these are forcing corporations to be more honest about their products. Hopefully one day they will recognize that there are significant consequences to profiting from dangerous products. Until then, it would seem consumers today have to read both the fine print – and ‘between the lines’ – when it comes to food labels. Contact our office today to speak to an experienced attorney.