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"No Artificial Flavors" Claims

Box of Original SweeTarts

The Ferrara Candy Company is settling a class action alleging that it claimed that its SweeTarts candies contain no artificial flavors, when they contain dl-malic acid, a synthetic ingredient that provides a tart flavor. Although malic acid can occur in nature, for example in fruits, it is generally a synthetic form that is used in commercial food products such as SweeTarts.

Scooby-Doo Fruit Flavored Snacks

The complaint for this class action claims that certain General Mills fruit-flavored snacks are misbranded, with false and misleading labeling and advertising, because they purport to contain only natural ingredients and flavors when in fact they contain malic acid, an artificial flavoring ingredient.

Ocean Spray CranGrape Juice

Ocean Spray CranApple Juice and CranGrape Juice have labels that claim that they contain “No High Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Colors, or Flavors” but the complaint for this class action alleges that both juices do contain artificial flavors, in violation of California’s advertising and consumer protection laws. According to the complaint, the CranApple Juice contains dl-malic acid and the Cran Grape Juice contains fumaric acid, both of which the complaint claims to be artificial flavors made from petrochemical products, and which California laws require to be indicated on the label as artificial flavors.

Fruit Lay Salt and Vinegar Chips

This class action alleges that the Frito-Lay company attempted to tout its Salt and Vinegar Chips as having “no artificial flavors,” when in fact the snack does contain artificial flavoring. The complaint contends that, while the ingredient list includes a “salt & vinegar seasoning” containing “maltodextrin [made from corn], natural flavors, salt, malic acid, vinegar,” the presence of vinegar at the very end of the ingredient list means that there is very little vinegar in the product—less than the unspecified “natural flavors” and malic acid.