Monday, August 29, 2016


PESTICIDES: THE NEW TARGET IN LEGAL BATTLES OVER ‘NATURAL’? Four lawsuits were filed against General Mills on Thursday that argue the company is violating consumer protection laws by claiming the oats in its Nature Valley-brand granola bars are “natural,” even though they contain trace amounts of the pesticide glyphosate. A similar case was brought against PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats brand in May. The Richman Law Group is representing the plaintiffs in the suits — making pesticides the latest target in the wave of legal challenges over the word “natural.” The lawsuits against General Mills were filed in California, Washington, D.C., Minnesota and New York by three consumer advocacy groups: Organic Consumers Association, Beyond Pesticides and Moms Across America. In the complaints, the groups describe how they purchased boxes of Nature Valley’s Oats ’n Honey Crunchy granola bars in different D.C. stores and had them tested by an independent laboratory. The lab found the products contained 0.45 parts-per-million of glyphosate, which is well below EPA's 30 ppm residue limit. But the lawsuits maintain the products are misleading because “no reasonable consumer, seeing these representations, would expect that the oats or any ingredients in the products” contain synthetic chemicals. Plaintiffs demand General Mills issue corrective advertising and make payments to reimburse plaintiffs’ legal fees and provide “equitable relief." In response to MA’s request for comment, General Mills said: "We stand behind our products and the accuracy of our labels." FDA has yet to define the term "natural" on food labels, which has left food companies vulnerable to an onslaught of civil actions against use of the term. The agency in May requested public comment on the matter. Read more: Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

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