Should genetically-modified ingredients qualify as all natural? That’s what a judge will have to decide. But this is not the first class action suit against a major food company for using genetically-modified ingredients (GMOs) and/or synthetic substances in their “all-natural” products. The trend first started with Con Agra then moved to Kashi and Naked Juice. Now it is against PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay.
A federal class-action lawsuit in California claims Frito-Lay brands Tostitos and Sun Chips labeled as “all-natural” really aren’t because they’re made using corn and oil from genetically modified crops. See the suit here.
Filed by LA-based Milberg law firm of in U.S. District Court for Central California earlier this month, the suit notes packaging and website advertising describing the products as all-natural and free of “artificial” or “synthetic” ingredients. Ads for Tostitos, for example, have cited the fact that they contain only three ingredients — corn, salt and oil. Frito-Lay rolled out a campaign in April giving consumers an inside look at how the company’s recipes are made using “all natural” ingredients.
See it here:
But the complaint, which seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of Frito-Lay consumers, notes that Monsanto, which pioneered development and distribution of genetically modified crops, defines them as having “genetic makeup altered to exhibit specific traits that are not naturally theirs.” Does that mean “synthetic”?
In a statement, the PepsiCo unit said it’s confident its packaging and advertising meets federal standards. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s definition of “organic” products excludes those with genetically modified ingredients, but no similar standard from the USDA or Food and Drug Administration applies to use of the term “natural.”
RBR-TVBR observation: The truth is, almost everything grown here in the states now is genetically modified. According to the Institute for Responsible Technology, 91% of soy, 88% of canola and 85% of corn in the U.S. is GMO. “Natural” basically means minimally-processed, according to the FDA. There are no real standards, no enforcement and no third-party verification. With the organic designation, there is enforcement, tight rules and regulations, and third-party verification. The courts may rule that genetically-modified is different than “all natural”, but then consumers might realize that most everything they’re eating is not from Mother Nature’s original specifications. It could largely hinge on the word “synthetic” and how it is interpreted.