A waffle by any other name is not necessarily a waffle. Van’s Food International, Inc. agrees to $9M settlement in a class action suit alleging that the company mislabeled it’s products as “all natural” when, in fact, there were artificial ingredients in the mix.
According to the suit, filed by plaintiff Diana Jill Miloro, Van’s “packaging was false and deceptive in that it led purchasers to believe that [the products were] “‘all natural,’ when in fact it included one or more synthetic ingredients.” The phrases in question included “Van’s Natural Foods,” “Totally Natural,” “Naturally Delicious,” “All Natural” and other like language. In addition to the $9M settlement, Van’s agreed to delete such phrasing from its packaging sixty days after final approval of the settlement.
The legal counts in the suit include breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty and unjust enrichment. Van’s agreement to the settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing, rather the company is settling “to avoid the costs, disruption and distraction of further litigation.” The settlement was given preliminary approval by a Missouri judge on June 16, 2015.
People who purchased the following products between January 1, 2009 through June 16, 2015 are eligible to participate:
- 8 Whole Grains Lite Waffles
- 8 Whole Grains Multigrain Waffles
- 8 Whole Grains Maple Waffles
- 8 Whole Grains Berry Waffles
- Love Your Heart Waffles
- Power Grains Waffles
- Organic Blueberry Waffles
- Organic Totally Original Waffles
- Organic Flax Waffles
- Gluten Free Totally Original Waffles
- Gluten Free Ancient Grains Waffles
- Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Waffles
- Gluten Free Blueberry Waffles
- Gluten Free Buckwheat Waffles
- Gluten Free Flax Waffles
- Minis Chocolate Chip Waffles
- Minis Totally Original Waffles
- Minis Gluten Free Waffles
- Buttermilk Pancakes
- Gluten Free Pancakes
- Multigrain Pancakes
- Belgian Homestyle Waffles
- Belgian Multigrain Waffles
- Multigrain English Muffins
- Honey English Muffins
- Wild Blueberry Muffin Crowns
- Chocolate Muffin Crowns
- Chocolate Waffle Sticks
- Vanilla Waffle Sticks
- Gluten Free Cinnamon French Toast Sticks
- Totally Original French Toast Sticks.
I find this disturbing. I’m one of “those people” who try to eat “all natural” foods and keep as much chemicals out of my food as possible. Van’s has been, up until now, a big name in the natural foods business. When a company such as this takes advantage of its customers like this, it makes such efforts even more difficult.
Granted, people can read labels (as I’m sure the plaintiff did). I am a label reader much of the time; however, if a package is screaming “All Natural” at me, why would I think it’s anything but “All Natural?”
The moral of the story is:
Read the damn label (and hope the manufacturer isn’t lying there, too)!