20 Lawsuits From Across U.S. Say Tropicana's "Natural" Claim Is Pulp Fiction

Back in January, we reported on a lawsuit from a California woman against Tropicana, claiming that the juice makers shouldn’t be marketing its products as “natural,” as extensive processing changes its “essential nature.” Now a slew of around 20 lawsuits from across our fair nation have popped up to chime in, claiming the company adds chemically engineered “flavor packs” to the juice.

The Associated Press (via the Washington Post) says the first suit was filed in New Jersey, where lawyers claimed that the flavor packs are added to make the juice taste the same year-round.

Today, many of the lawyers involved in the lawsuits are meeting in Washington, D.C. to argue their case before a panel of judges, to decide if the lawsuits will be heard as a group.

Tropicana said in a statement that it is committed to full compliance with labeling laws and to producing “great-tasting 100 percent orange juice.”

The Food and Drug Administration is in charge of labeling, but it doesn’t have any rules regarding which products can be called “natural” or “all natural.” If a food doesn’t have added color, artificial flavor or synthetic substances, the FDA doesn’t mind if it’s called natural.

However, as consumers have been shifting toward healthier foods, many customers have cried foul over major brands marketing their goods as natural, when they may be using genetically modified ingredients or use processes that shoppers don’t view as natural. Tostitos and Ben & Jerry’s are two such brands that have both gotten into hot water in the past by labeling products thusly.

Somehow we think the people suing Tropicana aren’t the same customers who are going to go for a little Mountain Dew A.M. first thing in the morning. That may be the farthest thing from a “natural” breakfast beverage that has ever existed.

Lawsuits slam ‘all natural’ claims from Tropicana orange juice to chips and ice cream [Associated Press via Washington Post]