A consumer has filed a putative class action against Dole Packaged Foods, LLC alleging the company’s products contain too much added sugar to be labeled as “rich in nutrients” or “healthy.” Amaya v. Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, No. 15-7734 (C.D. Cal., filed October 18, 2016). The complaint first details research connecting added sugar intake to detrimental health effects, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, then asserts that Dole’s products containing added sugar are misleadingly labeled. “Dole’s representations that Dole Fruit & Oatmeal contains ‘real fruit!’ and ‘No Trans Fat or Cholesterol,’ and is ‘a healthy . . . Breakfast’ are false, or even if literally true at least highly misleading, in light of the substantial added sugar in the Dole Fruit & Oatmeal products,” the plaintiff argues.
The complaint also alleges the labeling claims are unlawful because (i) a statement indicating that the product is free of trans fat is “an unauthorized nutrient content claim that may not be made under any circumstances” and (ii) “the statement ‘No  Cholesterol’ is unlawful because Dole Fruit & Oatmeal is naturally cholesterol free, but in viola- tion of [the federal statute], Dole failed to disclose that cholesterol is not usually present in the food.” The plaintiff seeks class certification, injunc- tions, a corrective advertising campaign, damages and attorney’s fees for alleged violations of California’s consumer-protection statutes.