Del Monte Sued Over “No Preservatives” Claim on Green Beans

Food giant Del Monte Foods was sued in the Southern District of Illinois Friday over allegations that it falsely represents that its cut green beans are prepared with no preservatives, even though the beans actually contain salt.

The case is one of many filed by Sheehan & Associates, a law firm which has become a prolific filer of cases aimed at similar alleged misrepresentations on products.

According to the complaint, “Preservatives are defined as something that preserves or have the power of preserving, specifically, an additive used to protect against decay, discoloration, or spoilage.” The complaint cites law which requires that foods contain a “prominent” statement to inform purchasers if it contains a chemical preservative.

The complaint alleges that salt qualifies as a preservative; the plaintiff argues that while “the relevant regulations for chemical preservatives do not require any ingredient in the Product to be identified as a preservative nor the front label to disclose any chemical preservative (it does not have any), they do not authorize the claim of ‘No Preservatives.'”

Like other similar cases, the complaint proposes two classes, one for Illinois residents and one for a group of seven other states. The specific complaints alleged are violations of consumer protection statutes, breaches of warranties, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and unjust enrichment.