Welch Foods, Inc. is the most recent recipient of a letter from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) warning the company that, if not otherwise resolved, the watchdog’s claims that Welch is making deceptive health-benefit representations about its fruit snacks, spreads and juices will be taken to court for injunctive relief. According to the August 14, 2012, letter, the types of matters about which CSPI is most concerned are (i) “Welch Foods claims that its 100% Fruit Juice product line is heart-healthy and may promote overall health”; (ii) “Welch Foods claims that its Fruit Snacks, Fruit Juice Cocktails, Spreads, and 100% Fruit drinks ‘Reward Your Heart’ and are hearthealthy products”; and (ii) “Welch Foods claims that its Fruit Snacks products are nutritious and healthful to consume.”

CSPI contends that, to the contrary, the products contribute to “insulin resistance and obesity, and may thus promote heart disease and diabetes,” the claims lack substantiation, and the company’s “Fruit Snacks contain added sugars and artificial food dyes, lack significant amounts of real fruit, and contain no dietary fiber.” The letter warns that if Welch fails to respond, CSPI will initiate litigation seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting the company from these types of promotions and claims as well as disgorgement of company profits. CSPI Litigation Director Steve Gardner said, “It takes a heroic amount of chutzpah to tell consumers that these fruit snack candies will reward anyone’s heart.” See CSPI News Release, August 14, 2012.