Class-Action Lawsuit Claims Fruit Roll-Ups Are Unhealthy, Contain Little Fruit

Do phrases like “low fat,” “gluten-free,” “made with real fruit” and “good source of vitamin C” on the package of a processed fruit snack product make you think that the product is a healthy food? These phrases have all been on the packaging of fruit-like snack substances from General Mills: Froot by the Foot, Fruit Roll-Ups, and Gushers. Marketing copy on the front of a box is no substitute for taking a moment to read nutrition information and ingredients. But that hasn’t stopped the Center for Science in the Public Interest from filing a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company tried to make consumers believe that their products were wholesome and fruit-based, not full of trans fats, preservatives, and food coloring.

From the suit:

…Defendant’s Fruit Snacks contained trans fat, added sugars, and
artificial food dyes; lacked significant amounts of real, natural fruit; and had no dietary
fiber. Thus, although the Products were marketed as being healthful and nutritious for
children and adults alike, selling these Fruit Snacks was little better than giving candy to
children.

By its deceits, Defendant was able to command a premium price by
misleading consumers about the healthfulness of its Products and, thereby, distinguishing
the Products from similar fruit snack products. Defendant was motivated to mislead
consumers for no other reason than to take away market share from competing products
and increase its own profits.

First clue that a product may not be all that wholesome: its name is spelled “Froot.”

Class members are anyone in the United States who has purchased any of these fruitlike substances from General Mills since 2005. They seek damages for: “Unfair, Deceptive and Fraudulent Acts and Practices; Misleading and Deceptive Advertising; Breach of Express Warranty and Unjust Enrichment.”

What next? Will someone think that Crunchberries are actual berries? No, sorry, that already happened.

General Mills Fruit Snack Class Action Lawsuit [Top Class Actions]

RELATED:
“Shocked” That It’s Not Healthy, Mother Sues Nutella
Alert: Crunchberries Are Not Real Berries

Comments

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  1. haggis for the soul says:

    You don’t say.

    • Leksi Wit says:

      It’s more expensive and time consuming (because you have to wash and rinse, then dry and package yourself in to baggies) but REAL fruit is the best snack for kids. You know berries, apples, banana, watermelon, pineapple. Stuff that has 1 ingredient.

    • lupinthethird says:

      i’ve known these were unhealthy since i was 5, so no one should have that excuse. i’m gonna have to say it’s a stupid suit

  2. mingtae says:

    Never heard any commercial say these are health snacks. Its probably the same as other companies that their snack products contain 50% less fat then potato chips or something like that. Just because they add vitamin C, doesn’t automatically make it healthy.

  3. axhandler1 says:

    I think anyone who wants in on this lawsuit should have to publicly state, in front of lots of people, that they actually thought Fruit Roll-ups were healthy and nutritious. I mean, really?

  4. Doubting thomas says:

    I don’t care if they are putting heroin and ground glass in the snacks. If the Center for Science in the Public Interest is against it I am for it.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      This. Hearing that CSPI was involved, I immediately went … “I want some delicious, unhealthy fruit-flavored snacks.” It’s almost Pavlovian at this point.

    • theycallmeGinger says:

      Yep, they’re like PETA and AFA. My eyes start rolling when I see those acronyms. Too many crazies.

      “To our knowledge we have not been served with any lawsuit. But it would not be unusual for CSPI to put out a press release before actually serving a lawsuit.”

      That says a lot.

    • mehitabel says:

      childish

    • StarKillerX says:

      I have to agree, I guess they got tired of going after movie theater popcorn and decided to branch out.

  5. eccsame says:

    I remember fruit roll-ups about twenty years ago seeming healthy or, at least, not being flourescent colored laffy-taffy.

    • dpeters11 says:

      I remember getting them at GNC, and that the strawberry ones had actual strawberry seeds in it. How times have changed.

      • eccsame says:

        That’s exactly how I remember them. there was a fruit “texture” to them that, if they were fakey back then, certainly amounts to some sort of trickery. But I could swear that they used to be all fruit.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I doubt they were all fruit. They might have had fruit elements like juice or the seeds in the Strawberry flavor, but I don’t think they were made mostly of fruit.

      • MaliBoo Radley says:

        Are you sure you’re not thinking of fruit leather? I’ve gotten that at GNC. It’s made of 100% real fruit .. fruit role-ups aren’t.

        • dpeters11 says:

          I specifically remember calling them fruit rollups, don’t remember anything like Fruit Leather. This was in the 80s. It was a rolled up sheet as well.

          • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

            Well, that’s the thing: you might have called them Fruit Rollups because they were basically the same thing: rolled “fruit” but they were actually Fruit Leathers or some 100% fruit equivalent. I did the same thing growing up, because my asshole-ish 8-year-old self demanded the “real thing” (Fruit Rollups) but my parents told me the healthy ones were exactly the same and the name “Fruit Rollup” became synonymous with anything fruit-like and thin/rolled.

  6. mauispiderweb says:

    I remember before there was ever a thing called Fruit Roll Ups and it we called it Shoe Leather and it was sold at the candy store … with the candy.

  7. excaza says:

    This just in: Vitamin Water isn’t good for you either.

    Lawsuit at 11…

    I hate dumb people.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      I had hoped that everyone knew it, right? And just the other day I had someone tell me they didn’t “feel well” because they hadn’t drank their Vitamin Water that day. I just about wanted to smack some sense into them.

      Hey, how about some Snake Oil! Or this Miracle Tonic!

      • Cat says:

        “Smart Water”.

        Putting the word “smart” in front of a product name is a sure way to sell a product to people who are not.

        Please pass me the Smartfood.

        • farker22 says:

          interesting point, just like calling the federal reserve federal – makes you think it’s a government institution and not a privately run bank.

      • november84 says:

        Its funny you mention Snake Oil. I went to Thailand on a Vietnamese Tour and the final day was spent hauling us around to all these different “shows” which conveniently had a sales pitch at the end…..oy vey. Anyhow, they had tiger balms, snake oils, snake penis and all sorts of things tt make you well again. Sadly the dolts I was with were eating it up and spending their lift-time-saved monies on it :(.

        Cliffnotes: snake penis

      • Tyanna says:

        I had a coworker at my last job who decided he needed to lose weight, and started drinking that vitamin water and “working out” (read as “got a gym membership but never went”).

        Anyway, he got really sick. Started going to the doctor a lot to figure out why he was so sick. I finally told him to stop drinking the vitamin water. He was overdosing on some vitamins. The idiot was drinking 12 bottles of that crap a day, and taking a multi vitamin…and once he started getting sick he started taking vitamin C and Cold FX.

    • frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

      It’s not??

      But its got water AND vitamins.

  8. belsonc says:

    When I was growing up, I remember bringing lunch from home – Mother belsonc packed a sandwich, a drink, a “good” snack, and a “bad” snack.

    Even when I was 7, I knew enough to know there was a difference between that bag of carrots and the fruit rollup, nutritionally…

  9. The_IT_Crone says:

    YES. “Gluten free” is automatically a health food for some people- at least because those who need it don’t get horrifically sick. I was all set to just mock them just for the stupid lawsuit, but after reading that they are actually including Gluten Free in there I hope each and every person DIAF. Or gets inflicted with Celiac Disease, in which case they’ll realize how great it is when a product is helpfully labeled.

    Unless you’re going to get upset that products are also sometimes labeled “peanut or lactose free” don’t lump gluten in with this.

    /soapbox

    • dave731 says:

      Cigarettes are “gluten free”

    • Paul150 says:

      All that means is that there’s no gluten; it doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Heck, I can buy a case of gluten-free beer and get mad it isn’t a health food according to your logic.

      • The_IT_Crone says:

        You have to read ALL THE WORDS. Can’t even be bothered to read the second part of the first full sentence?

        Food that has gluten in it makes some people violently ill. I’m saying that eating food with no gluten in it is healthier than the alternative. It doesn’t just make you sick for one sitting, the damage to the lining of the intestines can prevent you from getting nutrients from other food for MONTHS. You can eat salads for every meal afterwards and still not be digesting that “health food.”

        Drinking a case of gluten free beer or fruit roll-up is much healthier than eating a “health food” with gluten in it.

  10. Hoss says:

    Part of the point is that this brand is actually mostly fruit-flavored stuff. I don’t see anything here that asserts fruit roll-ups made with fruit are as bad as junk food.

  11. pop top says:

    Why do people think gluten-free is a healthy term? It just means it doesn’t have any gluten in it! It’s not some sort of magical diet. It’s there for people who can’t have gluten, and it’s great that they’re starting to do that, but it’s not as though it’s important for anyone else.

  12. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    “Froot”

    Enough said.

  13. haggis for the soul says:

    The lawsuit link actually links to the Consumerist Crunchberries story.

  14. DragonThermo says:

    This is yet another example from the CSPI of a frivolous lawsuit. How is it General Mills’ fault that people don’t read the nutritional information on the side of the box. How stupid does someone need to be to look at the front of the box and say “yep, that’s all the info I need. I don’t need to rotate my wrist and look at the federally-mandated nutritional information on the side of the box.” It is not General Mills’ fault that people are stupid.

    Per Darwinism, stupid people need to be culled from the herd.

    • Peggee is deeply offended by impetulant, pernicious little snots disrespecting her and violating her personal space at Best Buy. says:

      You should be reading the side of the box, but a company can’t just make shit up on the front and then bury the real info in the small print on the side and think that’s going to cut it. If you bought a t-shirt that said “MADE IN THE USA” on the size tag, and then buried in the tiny print on the flip side (with the washing instructions) it said “Materials from China, assembled in Taiwan,” I don’t think you’d smack your forehead and say, “Doh! Should have read both sides of the tag!”

  15. nocturnaljames says:

    This is a minor issue.. while the FDA won’t let us know about genetically modified food products.

    • PunditGuy says:

      You’ve been eating genetically modified food ever since Mendel got his hands on some seeds a century and a half ago. They’re just much more efficient and Frankensteiny about it these days.

  16. Cat says:

    I make my own fruit roll ups at home.

    Sorry. I just had to say it…
    http://www.easyfunschool.com/article1091.html

  17. powdered beefmeat says:

    so you mean a flamethrower is not good to eat even though according to the manufacturer it contains “no fat”?

    • Round-Eye 外人はコンスマリッストが好きです。 says:

      And it’s gluten-free! W00t!

  18. rpm773 says:

    They still make these things? Fruit roll-ups were the fad snack to have in 2nd grade/1983. We’d roll them up on the end of our index finger and suck away…which is ok to describe in detail because we were 7 years old (you sicko).

    What about Fruit Bars (3rd grade), and Fun Fruits (4th grade)? Are they still around?

  19. Bsamm09 says:

    Watch out Fruit-by-the-Foot — You’re next amigo

  20. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    OH MY GOD HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE IT SAYS FRUIT ON THE BOX.

  21. jrwn says:

    I thought with the name of fruit-by-the-foot, it would be healthy, easy way to get my fruit. It’s not??? Maybe I should sue for my health now.

  22. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Low Fat – Means its made with chemicals instead of real food, so don’t buy it

    Gluten Free – Could be good could be bad, simply means read the ingredients. Might have more carbs then the regular kind! (But if you need something gluten free, woohoo!)

    Made with Real Fruit – There is .001% of real fruit in this product

    The one that really gets me is candy that says “This is a fat free food!” DUH, becasue its all sugar!

  23. chemmy says:

    Even as a kid, we knew these were junk food that was practically candy. So sue me.

  24. Rocket says:

    It’s big, it’s hot, why doesn’t it kill us all tonight? Learn about the sun tonight.

    Also, this just in: Water is wet. More at 11.

  25. Starrion says:

    Unless you are driving around in an old van with tinted windows, it is perfectly legal to:
    “selling these Fruit Snacks was little better than giving candy to children”.

    And that is exactly what they were doing. Parents were giving their kids candy. Shocking. Someone call Department of Youth services*.

    *”concerned” people should not actually call DYS. Giving children candy in moderate quantities is legal and can still be part of a healthy diet. Candy should only be given to your children except on Halloween. Giving candy to strange children without parental permission may result in police involvement or (if in Texas) death.

  26. marks2l says:

    Oh, is it time for the CSPI to pop their little heads up for their periodic attention fix?

  27. Rocket says:

    What moron would sue over this?… “Center for Science in the Public Interest”. Oh, never mind.

  28. farker22 says:

    i bought a pack of these recently and it was so sweet i couldnt eat them – sweeter than sunny delight.

  29. brinks says:

    So Fruit Roll-Ups, with their plastic-like consistency and no need for refrigeration, don’t actually contain much fruit?

    No s***.

  30. buzz86us says:

    really that must be why I gained weight on my diet eating these. :sarcasm:

  31. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    next on the block: gogurt

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      You know what I’m really pissed off about? That you can’t find REAL 100% full fat yogurt without oodles of added sugar any more.

      It’s all light / fat-free / bullshit chemicals with 30g of sugar and crap.

      • theycallmeGinger says:

        I think you can still find full fat yogurts with only fruit-sugars in them. I thought Chobani did this, but I think they only have non- or low-fat versions (still only natural sugars, though). Here’s this, though:

        http://www.fageusa.com/products/fage-total-classic/#

      • haggis for the soul says:

        Yeah, what passes for “yogurt” these days really gripes my ass. I miss the days of yogurt that had some tasty fat as well as about 30-40% of the daily value of calcium in a cup. Now you’re lucky to get 20% and you get a bunch of artificial sweeteners and thickeners as a bonus.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        Oh? That’s all I buy. Actually, I usually get the low-fat, but I skip over a tub of full fat to get it.

  32. RDRR says:

    I thought my Fruit of the Looms were a bit stringy…

  33. amylou says:

    I’ve been trying to get my kids to eat more whole healthy foods, but as a treat I found the Simply Fruit roll ups, they actually have real fruit and no corn syrup. http://www.foodgeekery.com/reviews/fruit-roll-ups-simply-fruit/

  34. El_Fez says:

    Of course there’s no fruit in there – hence the whole calling it “Froot”. What – do people think Froot Loops also contain fruit?

  35. Outrun1986 says:

    I can see the point with Fruit roll ups because there is a commercial on TV advertising Fruit roll ups as the healthy choice in the grocery store for your kids when in reality they are not healthy at all and they contain HFCS. Fruit roll ups like most “fruit snacks” do not actually contain healthy things but it is advertised that they do which is one of the big problems with the food industry in the USA. Now there are versions of fruit roll ups that are made with real fruit and not HFCS that you can find in the organic section of most grocery stores.

    But I can’t see that with gushers, basically no one assumes its a healthy product.

  36. Rocket says:

    “Thus, although the Products were marketed as being healthful and nutritious for children and adults alike…”

    What box are you reading, oh wait.

    “…selling these Fruit Snacks was little better than giving candy to children.”

    They are candy.

  37. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    I don’t think that the name of the product having the word fruit (or derivative of in the case of froot) is connotative of it being healthy. All you have to do is read the ingredient list and the nutritional info to figure that out.

  38. dave731 says:

    Wow next thing you are going to tell me that my Camel Lights are bad for me …

  39. SagarikaLumos says:

    Even if they’re right, I’m against CSPI every time.

  40. mindaika says:

    Clearly, this is the fault of everyone except the business who uses deceptive marketing expressly for the purpose of convincing the average shopper to buy their products.

  41. Scamazon says:

    Personally, I am shocked… :-)

  42. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Well, DUUUH. I was eating generic cream-bottomed fruit snacks the other morning and someone asked me what I was having and I said “Candy.”

  43. frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

    We took them and spelled out an obscene nickname on my buddy’s windshield in July. An hour later they were virtually welded to the glass. We needed ice scrapers and boiling water to get them off.

    I wonder how stomach acid and bile works?

  44. maynurd says:

    Latest in series of lawsuits from this orginazation.

    Smart Water does not make you smart….