Continuing the seemingly never-ending litigation challenging “natural” claims, a new lawsuit in Florida alleges that Fullbar LLC’s “100% Natural” and “All Natural” claims are false and deceptive.
Elizabeth Livingston alleged that the “100 Natural” and “All Natural” labeling on the snack bar wrapper and box violate Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Practices Act because the chocolate peanut butter and cranberry almond bars contain synthetic ingredients. The “prominently displayed” representations are central to Fullbar’s marketing, according to the complaint.
According to the plaintiff, Fullbar’s products “are highly processed and contain numerous artificial, synthetic, and/or genetically modified ingredients” like maltodextrin, used as a thickener or filler, as well as soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, and soy lecithin, all derived from genetically modified organisms or genetically engineered seeds.
While the Food and Drug Administration has not issued a formal definition of “natural,” the agency has loosely defined the term as a product that “does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances,” she added.
The plaintiff, who purchased her Fullbars between 10 and 15 times, seeks to certify both a statewide and nationwide class of purchasers who “were forced unwittingly to support an industry that contributes to environmental, ecological, and/or health damage” and “were denied the benefit of the beneficial properties of the natural foods promised.”
The plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, restitution, damages, and compensation for unjust enrichment, all of which are based on a breach of express warranty, violations of the Magnuson-Moss Act, negligent misrepresentation, and violations of Florida’s consumer protection statute.
To read the complaint in Livingston v. Fullbar, LLC, click here.
Why it matters: Consumer class action lawsuits challenging “natural” claims have been filed repeatedly in recent years, with some speculating that such labels are disappearing from supermarket shelves as a result. Companies have paid out multi-million settlements like Ben & Jerry’s $7.5 million deal and a $9 million settlement by Naked Juice. The case against Fullbar joins the list of hundreds of other companies facing similar litigation.