Originally published September 5 2011
ConAgra sued for label fraud, GMO oils labeled 100% Natural
by Christina Luisa
(NaturalNews) There are a huge number of food products in supermarkets labeled "natural" for consumers to choose from, including the popular "Wesson" brand cooking oils. However, these products are perhaps not as "natural" as they claim to be -- and this is demonstrated by a recent class action lawsuit against food giant ConAgra for the deceptive labeling of its Wesson oils as "100% natural."
ConAgra is not the first company to be called out for deceitful labeling. Unfortunately, it's not abnormal these days to find the words "all natural" on the packaging of products that are anything but - such as processed chips or other packaged items. A good example would be Ben & Jerry's ice creams, which were falsely labeled "all-natural" for a good while before a class action lawsuit corrected the lie.
Many consumers assume food items labeled "natural" are the healthier choices in grocery stores, but these products are not required by law to contain only natural ingredients. Unlike the label "organic," "natural" has no definition in law by the Food and Drug Administration and no regulation. The Food Marketing Institute openly states that "the term 'natural' is not regulated except for meat and poultry."
Food marketers are well aware of how consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with eating healthful foods, and they use this information to their advantage by exploiting the natural label and sticking it on products that contain chemical ingredients and are made with non-natural processes.
The truth is outThankfully, a handful of discerning consumer lawyers are on to this deceptive marketing process and are taking action against food companies that are participating in it. Although various lawsuits have been filed in recent years exposing the fraudulent marketing of food giants using the term natural, a recent suit filed in June of this year in California against ConAgra could shake the entire foundation of the contemporary food industry.
The plaintiff filing the suit against ConAgra claims he relied on Wesson oils "100% natural" label, when in reality the products are made from genetically modified organisms (both corn and soy), disqualifying their labeling as all-natural.
If the suit is ruled in favor of the plaintiff, the terms "all-natural" have limited days left as an unchecked, phony catch-all for semi-processed foods.
GMOs aren't exactly natural, says MonsantoOddly enough, the plaintiff's complaint cites a definition of GMOs by Monsanto, the company that has become widely known for its promotion of the process of genetic modification of foods. According to Monsanto, GMOs are: "Plants or animals that have had their genetic makeup altered to exhibit traits that are not naturally theirs."
The complaint filed also quotes another GMO definition from the World Health Organization: "Organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally."
The meaninglessness and obscurity of the term "all-natural" is rapidly becoming one of the food world's dirtiest open secrets. This skeleton is out of the closet, and it took a hard beating a few weeks ago when news of the orange juice industry's indeterminate recipe for "100% all-natural orange juice" got some significant attention. One thing is clear: foods marked as "natural" are at least as likely as any other in commercial food stores to be artificially made or processed.
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