Lately, headlines have been flooded with lawsuits against food manufacturers, alleging false claims and misleading labels. The most recent suit is targeting Tropicana for labeling their well-known orange juice as “natural.” The lawsuit claims that the company adds chemically engineered “flavor packs” to its product to keep the taste consistent year round.
As America turns towards healthier foods, the food industry has responded by placing these labels on their products. According to the FDA, most foods labeled “natural” are not subject to government controls, beyond the regulations and health codes which apply to all foods. As long as a food labeled “natural” doesn’t contain added color, artificial flavor or synthetic substances, the agency doesn’t object. Although these products are following the guidelines the government provides, the inflow of lawsuits has been so drastic that the Grocery Manufacturers Association has a special panel just to address the topic.
Lawsuits such as these only serve to fill the pockets of the plaintiffs’ attorneys while harming the very people the lawsuit is intended to protect – the consumer. Instead of this avalanche of lawsuits attacking our food industry, consumers should look to the government agency responsible for establishing and enforcing standards and demand more clear regulations on labeling. Suing a company which is violating no law or regulation will not serve public interest. Those consumers who are concerned about what is in their food would be well served to spend a few seconds to flip a product around and read the nutrition facts and ingredient list.