Last week, Naked Juice agreed to settle a very important class action lawsuit which accused the company of deceptive labeling.
The primary basis of the lawsuit stemmed from the company’s use of the words “All Natural” on products that contained Archer Daniels Midland’s Fibersol-2 (“a soluble corn fiber that acts as a low-calorie bulking agent”), fructooligosaccharides (an alternative sweetener), other artificial ingredients, such as calcium pantothenate (synthetically produced from formaldehyde), and genetically-modified soy.
Since these ingredients are either genetically-engineered or synthetically produced and do not exist in nature, it is completely misleading to consumers for these juices to claim to be “All Natural.”
As part of the settlement, Naked Juice, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, has agreed to remove the label “All Natural” from all of its juices and to pay a $9 million settlement to the class action group.
Without a question, this is a big, big win for consumers and is a huge step forward for more accurate labeling in the U.S. It also puts other food manufacturers on serious notice that GMOs are anything but natural and cannot be marketed as such.
Yet, as one digs deeper into the fine details of this lawsuit settlement, there are some extremely troubling details of which the general public is completely unaware.
THE DETAILS THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT
The lawyers representing four of the five plaintiffs (Adhoot & Wolfson; Glancy Binnkow & Goldberg; Finkelstein Thompson; Ridout Lyon & Ottoson), who negotiated and signed off on the settlement, agreed to a provision which said that they would not freely communicate with the press in order to publicize the case. Any communication would have to contain language that was agreed upon in the settlement or would need prior approval from Naked Juice.
If lawyers who are supposed to represent the interests of the class action group cannot freely talk to the press about the settlement and cannot have complete freedom to spread information about how consumers can make a claim to the $9 million dollars, it begs the question: whose interests are the plaintiffs’ lawyers truly representing?
Shouldn’t the plaintiff’s lawyers be speaking to as many members of the press as possible in order to increase awareness of the case, so as to maximize the number of people who participate in the settlement?
As it stands now, the only way consumers will be informed about the details of the settlement is if they were to somehow read an announcement in one of the following media outlets.