Frito-Lay has removed the language on its labels alleging that their Tostitos, SunChips and Fritos Bean dip products are made with all natural ingredients. This is the result of a false labeling lawsuit filed five years ago. Frito-Lay has agreed to these new labeling restrictions to comply with the terms of the class action settlement and to prevent future suits.
Frito’s bean dip, SunChips, and Tostito’s tortilla chip products previously had the words “all-natural ingredients” on the packaging, leading consumers to believe that they were purchasing and paying a premium for a product different from others on the market, according to the false labeling lawsuit. The class action suit asserted that the main purpose of their legal claim was to remove the words “all natural” from product packaging since the products named in the Frito-Lay class action lawsuit may have been manufactured with genetically modified ingredients.
The company agreed to pay up to $2.1 million in attorneys fees and expenses, up to $5,000 for each of the four named plaintiffs in the false labeling lawsuit, and a maximum of $215,000 to inform consumers about the settlement.
During the case, Frito-Lay admitted that it purchased genetically modified corn, but the Company stated it wasn’t certain any specific product was made completely or mostly with corn from genetically modified seeds. According to the Frito-Lay class action lawsuit, genetically modified corn makes up 90% of the U.S. corn market. The consumers in the false labeling lawsuit alleged that because some of the ingredients contained GMOs, it was misleading for consumers who purchased anything with an “all natural” label.
Frito-Lay has already acted to remove any claims on its labeling that the products are made with “all natural” ingredients. The company also stated that they would not label any products with the words “all natural” if they included any GMO ingredients unless federal regulations allow the ingredients for use in “natural” products. According to Frito-Lay, the lawsuit was a crucial factor in the company’s decision to change their practices and labeling policies. Frito-Lay has also agreed not to market its products as non-GMO unless an independent organization certifies the product.
While the false labeling lawsuit focused Frito-Lay’s use of GMO corn in many of its products, the consumers in the class action lawsuit believe that the case’s outcome will protect consumers against a variety of potentially misleading claims.
The Frito-Lay False Labeling Lawsuit is FritoLay North America Inc. All Natural Litigation, Case No. 1:12md02413, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
Who Can File a False Labeling Suit?
Consumers may file a class action lawsuit when labels and other marketing materials are misleading. In recent years, claims of organic or all-natural ingredients have been some of the most common issues raised in false labeling lawsuits.
A false labeling lawsuit is generally strongest when it can be shown the advertising terms used were confusing or inaccurate. If you have been affected by misleading claims from a consumer product company, you may be eligible to file a false labeling lawsuit with the help of an experienced attorney.
Contact the experienced consumer protection attorneys at Bradley/Grombacher by filling out the form on this page for a FREE case evaluation.
Note: Bradley/Grombacher is not representing the plaintiff in this lawsuit.