Food Company Sued Over Alleged Misrepresentation of Products as Healthy

Monday marked the filing of a suit in the Eastern District of California by Joi Butts (individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated) against Cibo Vita, Inc. The class action complaint alleges that the defendant misrepresents their trail mix products through their labeling in a way that is harmful to consumers.

The defendant markets a number of its trail mix products under the brand Nature’s Garden. The products under this brand are a part of a greater marketing campaign where the defendant advertises its products through health and wellness claims, including that the trail mix products are “heart healthy.”

Despite these representations by the defendant, the plaintiff asserts that the trail mix products actually contain a high amount of sugar. Specifically, one package of the Nature’s Garden Heart Healthy Trail Mix contains 250 grams of sugar, with 125 grams of added sugar. This is similar to other Nature’s Garden products under the trail mix line.

Butts contends that the excessive consumption of added sugar has been found to “increase the risk of several medical conditions, including… heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, and hypertension.” Under several federal and state labeling laws, Butts explains that the defendant has violated these food labeling regulations in their advertisement of Nature’s Garden products.

Butts believes that the defendants’ allegedly false marketing campaign is an effort to increase both the price and sales of the trail mix products. The complaint argues that the campaign and corresponding products are both deceptive and misleading since the messaging is “incompatible with the known dangers of excessive sugar consumption.”

The plaintiff is seeking class certification, claiming that both herself and others who are similarly situated have been injured in the amount they paid for the defendant’s products. If the defendant had marketed their trail mix in a more legitimate manner, the plaintiff would either not have purchased the product or would have paid significantly less for it.

The complaint cites a violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, the False Advertising Law, the Unfair Competition Law, a breach of express warranty, a breach of implied warranty of merchantability and unjust enrichment. Butts is seeking class certification, favorable judgment on each count, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, monetary and punitive damages, litigation fees, and any other relief deemed proper by the Court.

The plaintiff is represented by Bursor & Fisher, P.A.