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Kellogg-owned Kashi Faces Consumer Fraud Class Action

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San Diego, CA: Kashi, and parent company Kellogg, are facing a federal consumer fraud class action lawsuit over allegations that their "all natural" products, which are promoted as being free of artificial ingredients, are mislabled and are allegedly "composed almost entirely of synthetic and unnaturally processed ingredients," according to the lawsuit.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims that "Since at least 1999, defendants prominently displayed the promises 'all natural' and/or 'nothing artificial' on the front labels of almost all of its products, cultivating a healthy and socially conscious image in an effort to promote the sale of these products. Defendants knew these claims to be false. "

The class, represented by Michael Bates of Texas, claims that Kashi "inserted a spectacular array of unnaturally processed and synthetic ingredients to its so-called 'all natural' products" which include products ranging from bars, cereals, shakes, cookies and crackers to pita crisps, waffles and pizza.

"For example, Kashi's so-called 'All Natural' GoLean Shakes are composed almost entirely of synthetic and unnaturally processed ingredients, including sodium molybdate, phytonadione, sodium selenite, magnesium phosphate, niacinamide, calcium carbonate, calcium phosphate, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamin hydrochloride, potassium iodide, and other substances that have been declared to be synthetic substances by federal regulations," the complaint states. The suit further alleges that many of the "fraudulently labeled" products contain more artificial ingredients than natural ones and make "deceptive" health claims. "Many of these ingredients are shocking, especially given defendants' heavily market 'Real Foods Values.' For example, defendants added several ingredients that the FDA has expressly declined to declare as GRAS or 'generally recognized as safe' as a food additive."

And, "Defendants added synthetic substances listed as prescription drugs to its foods, irradiated substance, pesticides that are a byproduct of uranium mining, and federally declared hazardous substances. Defendants also added several highly processed excitotoxins to its products that are hidden sources of monsodium glutamate, a.k.a. 'MSG,'" the complaint states.

The lawsuit also claims that many ingredients in Kashi products are safe only because of "synthetic compounds or excessive processes" that turn them into food additives. That makes Kashi's "all natural" claims "demonstrably false," the suit alleges.

The class is seeking compensatory and punitive damages as well as statutory penalties for unlawful, unfair and fraudulent business practices, false advertising, violation of California's Consumer Legal Remedies Act, restitution based on quasi-contract/unjust enrichment, breach of express and implied warranty, fraudulent misrepresentation, concealment and constructive fraud.

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