Kraft Lawsuit: Capri Sun Isn’t “All Natural”

Kraft needs to start making food that isn’t made out of plastic, because it’s pissing people off. And the people have lawyers. A Florida woman has brought a class action lawsuit against Kraft, maker of Capri Sun. Why? She says they’re guilty of deceptive marketing because the juice drink contains High Fructose Corn Syrup, and thus isn’t “All Natural.”

Obviously, this woman isn’t familiar with Kraft’s standards for guacamole. Incidentally, this lawsuit should be about the fact that those straws do not puncture the little foil dot. Grrrr! We hate that foil dot.—MEGHANN MARCO

Kraft is Sued for Falsely Calling Capri Sun Drink “All Natural” [CSPI] (Thanks, Mitchell)
Read The Lawsuit! (PDF) [CSPI]

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  1. major disaster says:

    Isn’t high fructose corn syrup technically “all natural”? It’s made from corn, right? Sure, it’s highly processed, but (and I’m speculating here because I don’t actually know how it’s made, but I think this is a safe assumption) nothing in it is synthetic, right?

    I guess what I’m really wondering is, what are the legal standards for what a company can claim is “all natural”? If it means the whole product has to be the found, unadulterated, in nature, then obviously Capri Sun is not. But I’ve never understood it to mean that – I’ve always thought it meant all the various ingredients are derived from natural products. Seems like one of those pretty vague terms that don’t actually have much meaning.

    In any case, “natural” doesn’t automatically mean “good” – lots of bad things are “natural” – saturated fat, anthrax, heroin, etc.

  2. major disaster says:

    Okay, well, I did just read that CSPI press release (I really need to learn to read things before I comment, not after), and if you believe them, I guess the corn syrup does appear to be what I might not call natural. Still, my point still stands that “all natural” is kind of a meaningless term anyway.

  3. homerjay says:

    Doesn’t 7UP make the same claim and include the same HFCS?

  4. CookiesEtc says:

    In any case, “natural” doesn’t automatically mean “good” – lots of bad things are “natural”

    So very, very true. Those all natural mushroom burgers you can buy have more in common with the mold you see on cheese than what you picture a mushroom looking like.

  5. homerjay says:

    ugh, apparently I’m with you Major. My question was answered in the article too.

  6. timmus says:

    I’m not really a health food nut, but Kraft might as well keep right on doing what they’re doing, because I’ve pretty much equated Kraft with the whole processed foods mess in this country. Back in the late 1990s we gradually stopped buying their stuff because of their megacorp status and their close affiliation with the tobacco industry (Kraft is mostly owned by Altria, i.e. Philip Morris).

  7. major disaster says:

    Heh, perhaps we need a remedial commenting class, homerjay!

    By the way, it’s funny, because rereading my comments and remembering the comments I made on the guacamole post, it kind of sounds like I’m belittling the concerns of the lawsuits, which are that companies should properly disclose the ingredients, and not engage in deceptive marketing. These are things I totally and completely support, and often, lawsuits like this are the only way to get companies to do the right thing. But I’m also a really cynical person, so I don’t even pay attention to things like “all natural” or other marketing buzzwords because I just assume they don’t mean anything.

    What was my point? I don’t know. All I do know is natural or not, Capri Sun is gross, and Meghann is correct about that stupid foil dot.

  8. HWgeek says:

    If you follow up with some /insert favorite search engine/ searches for either “HFCS insulin” or spell it out you might get a real shock on HFCS. Then really get curious and start checking out all the substitute sweeteners. The FDA is more crooked than the mafia with payoffs from big industry to get stuff on the shelves.
    Remember when Olestra was the miracle “oil” where is it now? Oh yea it screwed people’s digestive tracks so bad they had to clearly label packaging on the front! To warn consumers!

  9. TheGoldfishCowboy says:

    About ten years ago, didn’t the FDA change (read: finally regulate) what could actually be in the contents of food items labeled “diet” or “light”? Is this different from the “natural” definition..?

    That said, I still love Lunchables and I don’t care what is actually in the “ham” or “cheese”

  10. WV.Hillbilly says:

    Have you ever poured this stuff into a glass?
    It looks like the ammonia water my Mom used to soak her comb in.
    No wonder they put it in a foil pouch.

  11. heypal says:

    I have always felt that this type of labeling is clearly deceptive. High fructose corn syrup is not natural. It does not occur in nature. The real lesson for people here, and I think that everyone reading this knows this already, is to read the ingredients.

    Because a label says Low Fat does not mean you’re low in fat, too. A label reading ‘All Natural’ doesn’t mean the product contains things which are, in fact, natural. Increasingly ‘Organic’ is a buzzword for a product which should be bad for you but is made with organic components. Yeah, it’s junk, but it’s organic/low fat/all natural junk. There really are people out there who are deceived by this marketing and don’t know any better. That’s why we have consumer protection laws.

  12. john_nyc says:

    This woman lives in Florida, the fruit juice capital of the friggin’ Free World, and the best she can come up with to give her grandkids is a bag of bugjuice?

  13. “what are the legal standards for what a company can claim is “all natural”?”

    I don’t think there is one (but I’m not positive, and too lazy to read the USDA regs). The USDA will label “organic” foods (more than 95% organic ingredients), but I don’t think “natural” has any legal meaning.

    Besides — cocaine? TOTALLY natural. As is opium.

    mmmmm … opium. Natural AND unprocessed!

  14. Yep says:

    Thank you. I now have that friggin capri sun commercial jingle from the 80′s stuck in my head.

    Join me in my little hell, won’t you?

    Theres only one!
    Capri Sun!
    It great tastin’ fun
    when you punch open oooone!

    ohh, make it stop, make it stop.

  15. Framling says:

    Ever read a bottle of Juicy Juice?

    100% Juice with added ingredients.

    What the hell does that mean?

  16. Coronagold says:

    When I first saw those foil juice containers I thought, “Did we wage a war against astronauts and lose?” What an obvious deceptive ploy to hide smaller portions.

    As far as “all natural”, plutonium is a natural element. So is shit. Which comes full circle back round to Kraft. They can’t get mayonnaise right, so why bother.

  17. Hirayuki says:

    I wasn’t allowed any of this crap growing up. Any juices had to be 100 percent juice. I distinctly remember asking my mom for a particular juice drink (the “drink” part is the tipoff) with the selling point that it was “all natural”. Her reply was “Yeah? Sugar’s natural.”

  18. Panhandler says:

    What we REALLY need are thousands upon thousands of bureaucrats in a big white building, drafting thousands upon thousands of pages of regulations about what words like “low fat” and “all natural” really “mean.” THAT will save us.

    Back on the road to serfdom…

  19. Mattazuma says:

    Yet another lawsuit which will only benefit the lawyers involved.

  20. kerry says:

    All this does is remind me of one of the funniest things Lore Sjoberg ever wrote:

    Once I was looking at a box of Kix in the cereal aisle of my local grocery-providing institution, and I read the following explanation for the mildly sweet flavor of Kix: “We take the sweetness from inside the corn kernel and put it on the outside!” I thought this was pretty clever and pointed out to my shopping companion, who fixed me with a long-suffering stare and said “corn syrup.”

    Oh, and 7up does claim that HFCS is natural. In theory, it’s plant-derived and I think that’s the only thing something has to be to be called “natural.” Like everyone else has pointed out, though, natural doesn’t mean good for you. Cyanide, rattlesnake poison, AIDS. All natural, all deadly.

  21. Because a label says Low Fat does not mean you’re low in fat, too.

    Rita Rudner:

    I love that label ‘low fat’. I always wonder, “Lower than what? Lower than a big ol’ cup of fat?”

    I think the people who make Klondike bars got in trouble for calling the lowfat version lowfat. (I think it was the Klondike bars, I can’t remember.) In any case “lowfat” usually means “more sugar” or “Hey, we decreased the serving size! Now there’s less fat per serving!”

  22. Wow. Kix. Do they still make that?

  23. josh1701 says:

    Here’s a follow-up article, “Kraft faces lawsuit over ‘all natural’ drink claim,” from FoodNavigator-USA.com, a web site for the food and beverage industry. It’s fascinating to read about the case from industry’s perspective.

    According to the article:

    … [Kraft] is now being embroiled in a fierce debate surrounding the controversial sweetener high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Although derived from a natural compound – corn starch – HFCS has been accused of not qualifying as an ‘all-natural’ ingredient because its chemical bonds are broken and rearranged in the manufacturing process.

    The problem lies in the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not provide a definition of the term ‘natural’.

    Here’s more:

    But the lawsuit threatening Kraft may well prove fruitless.

    The company said in a statement yesterday that it already has plans “well under way” to change the packaging for Capri Sun.

    “Kraft Foods has been working for about a year to reformulate its regular Capri Sun beverages and redesign the product’s packaging. The new packaging, which is scheduled to go into production in about two weeks, will say that Capri Sun contains ‘No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives,’” said Marc Firestone, Kraft’s executive vice president for corporate and legal affairs.

  24. NotATool says:

    It may sound like it comes from corn in the same way sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beets, but HFCS is created by a complex industrial process performed in refineries using centrifuges, hydroclones, ion-exchange columns, backed-bed reactors and other high-tech equipment. Starch is extracted from corn and then converted by acids or enzymes to glucose. Then some of the glucose is further converted by enzymes into fructose.

    It just blows my mind that this process is still cheaper than using plain old sugar.

  25. tunaman says:

    Reading that they were already planning to change their packaging reeks of them not wanting to argue this point in court. I for one hope that the claimant refiles their lawsuit.

  26. i associate Kraft with those gross little plastic-wrapped American Cheese slices.

  27. maggie76 says:

    Actually, they probably did do it to stop this and other lawsuits- and because corn syrup like all things corn is not as cheap as it once was.
    but lets not analyze it to death a really great thing.
    I now have a portable drink that I can feed my kids.
    the ingredients on the Capri sun’s marked 25% less sugar have no High Fructose corn syrup. They have water, sugar, juices, vitamin e acetate and natural flavor.
    Natural flavors is a bit questionable but passable.

  28. maggie76 says:

    why they took the HFCS out is not as important as the fact that it is now gone and I have something to give my kids in the car or on the go!

  29. brownma78 says:

    Eeeek! I’m the Homestead Florida Mold mom…. all I can say is it isn’t me suing!!!!

    I’m curious if anyone knows anything more on this…. I’m wondering if they’re considering that High Fructose Corn Syrup is considered natural or not… I’m going to look it up though!