Naked Juice – False Labeling
“All Natural” and “Non-GMO” claims, followed by a class lawsuit and $9 million settlement
In 2011, the first complaints (Sandys v. Naked Juice Co.,PepsiCo, Inc. ) were filed against Naked Juice, which is owned by PepsiCo. In 2012, the five separate class action lawsuits filed against Naked Juice and PepsiCo were consolidated in the Central District of California with an amended complaint (Pappas v. Naked Juice Co. of Glendora, Inc.). The consolidated lawsuit concerns claims that Naked Juice violated certain state and federal laws and consumer protection statutes in connection with the advertising, labeling, or marketing of the Naked Juice and arising out of or relating to the “100% Juice,” “100% Fruit,” “From Concentrate,” “All Natural,” “All Natural Fruit,” “All Natural Fruit + Boosts,” or “Non-GMO” (or Non-Genetically Modified Organism) statements, through any medium (on-label, internet or otherwise).
The plaintiffs alleged that Naked Juice and PepsiCo knew that almost all its Naked Juice beverages contained GMOs and synthetic ingredients, yet falsely and misleadingly labeled almost all its Naked Juice products as “Non-GMO,” “100% JUICE,” and “ALL NATURAL” to deceive consumers.
The products contain unnatural, synthetic ingredients, including synthetic fibers such as Fibersol-2 (a proprietary synthetic digestion-resistant fiber produced by Archer Daniels Midland and developed by a Japanese chemical company), Fructooligosaccharides (a synthetic fiber and sweetener), and Inulin (an artificial and invisible fiber) as well as calcium pantothenate (synthetically produced from formaldehyde), which are not natural vitamins or nutrients from fruits and juices. Naked Juice’s protein beverages contain GMOs such as soy protein isolate that also requires extensive processing. In addition, the plaintiffs alleged that Naked Juice did not adequately disclose that its juices and smoothies were made from concentrate.
Allegedly, false representations on every package of Naked Juice
(Source: Sandys v. Naked Juice Co.,PepsiCo, Inc. full complaint document, September 2011)
On August 7, 2013, Court granted preliminary approval of the class action settlement. The Court has not decided in favor of the Plaintiffs or Naked Juice. Instead, both sides have agreed to the Proposed Settlement. By agreeing to the Proposed Settlement, they avoid the costs and uncertainty of a trial, and Class Members receive the benefits. The Proposed Settlement does not mean that any law was broken or that Naked Juice did anything wrong, or that the Plaintiffs and the Class would or would not win their case if it were to go to trial.
Naked Juice agreed to pay $9,000,000 to a Settlement Fund to make payments to Class Members who submitted the Claim Form, as well as to pay for costs associated with the notice and administration of the Settlement, attorneys’ fees and costs, and a special service payment to the Class Representatives. (Money from the $9 million Naked Juice class action lawsuit settlement was mailed to eligible Class Members on June 23, 2014.)
In addition, Naked Juice has agreed to change the future labeling, advertising, and marketing of the Eligible Products so that on a going forward basis, Naked Juice does not use labeling, advertising, and marketing campaigns claiming that the Eligible Products are “All Natural” (including the “All Natural,” “All Natural Fruit,” and “All Natural Fruit + Boosts” statements). Naked Juice will also establish a product verification program to confirm the Non-GMO statement on the Eligible Products, hire or assign a quality control manager to oversee the independent testing process for the Naked Juice product line, and establish and maintain a central database to permit the electronic tracking and verification of product ingredients.
More details are provided in the settlement agreement called the “Stipulation of Settlement” and other documents (including the consolidated class action complaint), all available at www.NakedJuiceClass.com.
(Originally published by Dr Miki at AskDrMiki.com in August, 2014)