New York and New Jersey residents have filed a putative nationwide class action with two statewide subclasses against General Mills, Inc. in a Minnesota federal court, alleging that the company has violated federal and state consumer fraud laws by marketing its Nature Valley snack bars as “100% Natural” when they contain high-fructose corn syrup and other non-natural ingredients. Chin v. General Mills, Inc., No. 0:2012cv02150 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Minn., filed August 31, 2012).
The plaintiffs also allege that the products contain highly processed highmaltose corn syrup and the texturizer maltodextrin. They allege that they relied on the company’s marketing and advertising and purchased its products “believing them to be 100% natural,” but sustained “injury in fact and lost money as a result of General Mills having misrepresented the Nature Valley Products.” According to the complaint, General Mills incorporates the “100% Natural” claim into its primary branding of the Nature Valley products and “has gone so far as to have applied for and received a registered trademark for the phrase ‘NATURE VALLEY 100% NATURAL’.”
Seeking in excess of $5 million damages, the plaintiffs allege violation of the Magnuson-Moss Act; unjust enrichment; breaches of express warranty and implied warranty of merchantability; fraudulent misrepresentation; and violations of Minnesota, New York and New Jersey consumer fraud laws. They also seek an order declaring that the company violates these statutes; compensatory, treble and punitive damages; interest; restitution; attorney’s fees; and costs.