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Deceptive Labels

Atkins Nutritionals Chocolate Candies

The complaint for this class action alleges that “net carbs” calculation on Atkins Nutritionals products is deceptive because it fails to properly take sugar alcohols into account. To calculate a product’s “net carbs,” Atkins takes the number of carbs it contains and subtracts both fiber and sugar alcohols, which the complaint claims provides a false result because sugar alcohols do increase blood sugar.

St. John's Wort Plant

St. John’s wort is known as a medicinal herb that can relieve depression. The National Institutes of Health’s website says a group of 29 studies showed that it may be “as effective as standard prescription antidepressants for major depression of mild to moderate severity.” The active ingredient in this plant is hypericin, and studies have shown that a dose of .9 mg per day is beneficial. However, independent lab tests have shown that some brands labeled to show that they contain this amount actually contained much less, from as little as .166 mg to .615 mg.

Naked Pressed Juices

Naked Juice is a subsidiary of PepsiCo that offers seven different juice product lines, including juice blends, smoothies, almond milks, and coconut waters. Its Naked Pressed line is a premium line made up of purportedly cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, but the complaint for this class action questions whether calling the juices “cold-pressed” is strictly truthful, because the product undergoes another step after the cold pressing which reduces enzymatic, biological, and cellular activity and lessens nutrient content. The “cold-pressed” juice, the complaint alleges, is only an intermediate product and not the final product sold in stores.

Olive Oil

Companies that import, market, and sell three brands of olive oil—Bertolli, Carapelli, and Carbonell—are the target of a recent class action that alleges that they make false claims on their labels, namely that the olive oils are imported from Italy, and that some of them are “extra virgin”. The classes proposed for this action do not cover all buyers of olive oil throughout the US, so others may still be able to join in with this case.

ShiKai Everyday Shampoo

As more and more consumers choose products with only natural ingredients, more and more companies want to call their products “natural”—even if it means ignoring the presence of synthetic or chemical ingredients.

Skeeter Snacks Cinnamon Grahams

Skeeter Snacks has agreed to settle a class action alleging that it deceptively advertised and packaged some of its snacks, claiming that they were “all natural” even though they contained artificial or synthetic ingredients such as anhydrous dextrose, lecithin, soy lecithin, and cocoa (processed with alkali).

Olivella Liquid Soap

What could be more “natural” than a face and body liquid soap made from olive oil? Perhaps one without chemicals and preservatives?

Wild Planet/Sustainable Seas Tuna

Wild Planet has settled a class action alleging that its Sustainable Seas tuna cans were under-filled, in violation of federal law.

Atkins Endulge

We’ve all heard of the famous “Atkins Diet,” developed by Dr. Robert Coleman Atkins, which focuses on limiting unhealthy carbohydrates. According to the complaint, Atkins believed that simple calorie counting ignored the fact that different foods had very different glycemic effects and that these made a big difference in whether food was used for energy immediately or not and how quickly a person became hungry again. The complaint claims that Atkins therefore evolved his own system for assessing carbs, which is expressed in the “net carb” claims featured prominently on the Atkins company’s product labels, but that in the cases of the products cited, these assessments are deceptive and misleading.

Scott Flushable Cleansing Cloths

Because consumers now prefer to buy products with natural, non-synthetic ingredients, the word “natural” can influence choices and even induce consumers to pay more for a product than for a similar but synthetic product. The complaint for this class action alleges that the Kimberly-Clark Corporation advertises its flushable cleansing cloths as “natural” when in reality they contain a number of synthetic ingredients, including sodium chloride, sodium benzoate, phenoxyethanol, malic acid, polysorbate 20, lauryl glucoside, and sorbic acid.