San Francisco, CA: A consumer fraud class action has been filed against Yogurt manufacturer Chobani Inc., over alleged deceptive marketing claims concerning the use of certain terms on its Greek yogurt products. The lawsuit claims the terms violate federal and state food labelling laws.
Filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of California by California consumer Katie Kane, the lawsuit alleges Chobani’s use of ‘evaporated cane juice’, ‘all natural ingredients’ and ‘only natural ingredients’ as terms used to describe its 18 flavours of Greek yogurt products. The lawsuit claims Chobani failed to disclose that ‘evaporated cane juice’ is commonly referred as sugar or dried cane syrup.
Federal and California state food labelling laws forbid the use of ‘natural’ labelling if the product contains artificial ingredients, flavouring, colouring or chemical preservatives, the lawsuit claims. Kane also alleges that Chobani made false claims in violation of these laws to actively promote the “naturalness and health benefits of its products” and drive sales.
“For example, the Nutrition Facts for Chobani’s Greek Yogurt, Pomegranate flavour, state that it has 19 grams of sugar, but the ingredient section fails to list ‘sugar’ and/or ‘dried cane syrup’ as an ingredient,” the lawsuit states.
“If a manufacturer is going to make a claim on a food label, the label must meet certain legal requirements that help consumers make informed choices and ensure that they are not misled.”
“In promoting the naturalness and health benefits of its Misbranded Food Products, Defendant claims to understand the importance of communicating responsibly about its products,” the lawsuit states.
“Nevertheless, Defendant has made, and continues to make false and deceptive claims on its Misbranded Food Products in violation of federal and California laws that govern the types of representations that can be made on food labels,” the lawsuit states.