Groups sue General Mills over 'natural' labels

Groups sue General Mills over 'natural' labels
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Three consumer groups have filed a lawsuit against General Mills for allegedly misleading the public in labeling their Nature Valley brand granola bars as "natural."

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Moms Across America, Beyond Pesticides and the Organic Consumers Association with the Richman Law Group filed jointly under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act.

The lawsuit claims the label on the General Mills granola bar is false, deceptive and misleading because it says “made with 100% natural whole grain oats.”

“The oat products at issue are not ‘made with 100% Natural whole grain oats,’ but instead the oats contain the chemical glyphosate, a potent biocide and human endocrine disruptor, with detrimental health effects that are still becoming known,” the groups said in their complaint.

“No reasonable consumer, seeing these representations, would expect that the oats or any ingredients in the products to contain something that is unnatural.”

The Organic Consumers Association said foods grown with pesticides like glyphosate are not natural.

“Consumers understand this,” Alexis Baden-Mayer, the group’s political director, said in a statement. “That's why sales of natural products are booming. Unfortunately, companies' misleading claims trick consumers into buying just what they're trying to avoid.”

In a statement to The Hill, General Mills said, "We stand behind our products and the accuracy of our labels."

The lawsuit comes as the Food and Drug Administration considers how best to define the term “natural” and set guidelines for its use on food product labels.