A consumer has filed a putative class action against Campbell Soup Co. alleging the company misrepresents its Healthy Request gumbo soup as “healthy” despite containing trans fat. Brower v. Campbell Soup Co., No. 16-1005 (S.D. Cal., filed April 25, 2016). Campbell has branded itself as “one of the world’s leading providers of healthy and nutritious foods,” the complaint asserts, in part by establishing a research group, Campbell’s Center for Nutrition & Wellness, and obtaining “heart-check” certification from the American Heart Association (AHA) for some of its products. Despite its marketing, Campbell adds “partially hydrogenated soybean oil, containing artificial trans fat, to Healthy Request Gumbo,” the plaintiff argues. The complaint details health risks reportedly linked to the consumption of trans fat, including increased risks of cardiovascular ailments, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
The “statements, images, and emblems” appearing on Healthy Request Gumbo’s label—the “Healthy Request” branding, “heart healthy” claim, vignettes of vegetables and grains, claims that the soup was “cooked with care” and “made with lean chicken meat,” and the AHA certification— ”taken individually and especially in context of the label as a whole, are false and misleading because they suggest the product is generally healthy, and specifically heart healthy,” the complaint argues. For alleged violations of California’s consumer-protection statutes and a breach-of-warranties claim, the plaintiff seeks class certification, damages, restitution and attorney’s fees.