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Mott's for Tots Juice Sued Over Immune Support Claim

Mott's for Tots Juice Sued Over Immune Support Claim

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Plaintiffs say the juice doesn't have any scientific backing for immunity support

Looks like POM isn't the only fruit juice getting some feedback on their purportedly super-healthy drinks; Dr Pepper Snapple Group is getting sued over a Mott's for Tots juice that claims to boost children's immune system.

According to Beverage Daily, the plaintiffs are asking for $5 milion plus interests and costs due to Snapple's allegedly "deceptively labeled product." The product in question, Mott's for Tots Immune Support Fruit Punch, claims it helps support a healthy system with additions of vitamins A, C, and E, but the plaintiffs say the vitamins have no scientifically backed value.

"In fact, the Immune Support Fruit Punch provides vitamins in a form not scientifically shown to support the immune system," the lawsuit says. "Scientific evidence specifically controverts the defendant's promise."

Consumerists reports that Kellogg's also backed away from similar immunity system claims for Rice Krispies back in 2009, after they came under fire for claiming that added vitamins A,C, and E in the cereal boosted a person's immune system. Whether or not Mott's will go the way of Kellogg's, or the more defensive POM juice's path, has yet to be determined, as Dr Pepper Snapple Group has refused to comment and stands by their package claims.

Court Dismisses Bulk of Consumer-Fraud Action Against Mott’s

A federal court in California has dismissed putative class claims relating to any product other than Mott’s 100% Apple Juice because the plaintiff failed to properly allege that the company’s numerous sauce products are mislabeled under state and federal law. Rahman v. Mott’s LLP, No. 13-3482 (N.D. Cal., order entered January 29, 2014). The court also dismissed claims under the state’s False Advertising Law, the fraud prong of the Unfair Competition Law (UCL) and the Consumers Legal Remedies Act because they were not sufficiently pleaded, and further dismissed the plaintiff’s claim for negligent misrepresentation for failure to plead justifiable reliance.

The court disagreed that the action should be dismissed under the primary jurisdiction doctrine or that the UCL claim should be dismissed for failure to allege facts that would satisfy the reasonable consumer test. As to the latter, the court reiterated that this test “does not apply to claims brought under the unlawful prong of the UCL.”

Disavowing its previous analysis of the issue in Larsen v. Trader Joe’s Co., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162402 (N.D. Cal. June 14, 2012), the court agreed to dismiss the plaintiff’s request for injunctive relief on Article III standing grounds. In this regard, the court stated, “Defendant argues that plaintiff lacks standing for injunctive relief because plaintiff is now fully aware of the alleged misrepresentations. This Court has previously rejected this argument. . . . However, the Court agrees with defendant that to establish standing, plaintiff must allege that he intends to purchase the products at issue in the future.” To support its new position, the court cited Jou v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 173216 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 10, 2013), and Delarosa v. Boiron, Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 188828 (N.D. Cal. 2012). The court granted the plaintiff leave to amend the complaint by February 24, 2014.

About The Author

Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

Candy Professor

Milky Way Bar, live and in color, 1924.

Frank Mars introduced this one in 1923. It has been a hit ever since, although you can see that our current version has evolved a bit from these rustic beginnings.As you can see in the vintage image, the Milky Way was originally all about the nougat. And in the early days, the nougat was packed with sliced almonds–later, the almond, caramel and nougat would be reworked into a different candy bar. The caramel, which now shares top billing, was at first just a drizzle. And size mattered: note the repeated references in this ad to “actual size,” which was in fact massive, about 4 inches long and nearly 2 inches square, at a weight over 3 oz. Being mostly nougat, a lot of the volume was air. But even still, compared to current candy bar standard is closer to 1.5 ounces, Milky Way was a hefty morsel.

The rustic look of the bar and package suggests that chocolate enrobing and candy bar wrapping are still in a pretty primitive state. This bar was wrapped by hand, as were most of the bars of the 1920s. In fact, the wrapping looks kind of sloppy. I’ve seen ads for candy bars from both larger companies and tiny outfits, and this style of wrapping was pretty common, whether some sort of paper as in this example or an imprinted foil. Wrapped candies of this sort had just begun to dominate the candy market, so expectations for what the wrapping should look like were not very settled. And since most of this was done by hand in factories, at high speeds, a certain slap-dash wrapping style is not so surprising.

And what about the name, “Milky Way”? My last post featured a 1960s era ad that promised wholesome milk, corn and eggs, farm fresh ingredients that make the candy “milky.” But when the candy was first introduced in the 1920s, the “milky” reference was a little different, as you can see in this 1925 ad:

The promise of milk in a Milky Way was originally a reference to a soda fountain treat, malted milk. This ad promises that the bar contains “more malted milk by volume than is contained in a double malted milk at the soda fountain.” So instead of drinking your malted milk, you could eat it in the form of a candy bar.

The focus on milk is to promote the “food value” of the candy bar. But the comparison here is between two different treat foods, both of which you would eat outside the home. This preserves the distinction between meal food and treat food, a distinction that seems to have broken down sometime later.

In 1925, candy bars and malted milk sodas were obviously not for breakfast. By the time we get to the 1960s TV ad that I wrote about in the last post, the images of eggs, milk and corn in the context of the farm emphasize that the candy bar is food like any other (and I think of breakfast particularly when I see those images). And so we arrive at our current state of confusion. It is, after all, just a little wiggle to move from candy bar to breakfast bar…

Juice for Babies? Madness.

Mott’s for Tots is boasting 40% less sugar than regular apple juice. If you’ve seen the TV ads in the last couple of weeks, you’ll recognize the campaign, cute toddlers enjoying their snacks while moms look on serenely, knowing that the special toddler juice formulation is safe for their wee ones.

Reduced sugar “for Tots.” So I guess that means it’s fine for the rest of us to continue with the full-blown sugar of regular juice? Why, if they can reduce the sugar, why don’t they just go ahead and do it?

This campaign has been really bugging me. I’m trying to figure out the rationale for targeting this reduced sugar juice to toddlers. I guess the most obvious point is that we are protecting our precious babies from the dangers of too much sugar. But doesn’t that imply that too much sugar might be a problem for people in general? The idea that babies are worth protecting but that everyone else should just go ahead and binge on sugary juice seems a little troubling.

Everybody seems to agree that its the sugar-laden drinks that are driving America from cute pudgyness to repulsive obesity. But juice somehow gets a pass. When the label can boast “no added sugar,” lots of people conclude that means “no sugar.” There is no practical difference between “added sugar” and the sugar that occurs naturally in sweet juices. Mott’s Plus for Kids 100% Apple Grape Juice has 130 calories and 30 grams of sugar in an 8 oz serving. Pepsi has 100 calories and 27 grams of sugar. The only argument I could understand here is that typical juice portions might be smaller than typical soda portions, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the juice is sugar water in virtuous disguise.

One of the big PR sucesses of the healthy nutrition lobby has been to re-brand sodas as “liquid candy.” Since everybody knows candy is bad for you, calling soda a kind of candy has been a great way to get sodas out of the schools and off the dinner tables of America.

I’m all for this effort, I think water should be what we drink when we’re thirsty. And if you want a sweet drink? The latest generation of artificial sweeteners make for tasty, enjoyable sweet beverages. People who complain that the “diet” versions of soft drinks aren’t as good as the regular will soon have no excuse. Pepsi is working on a formula that would have 60% less sugar and be absolutely indistinguishable from the full-sugar version. I don’t say this often, but: “Go, Pepsi!”

Frankly, I don’t understand why anyone worried about calories or nutrition would choose a sugar-sweetened drink. Am I worried about artificial sweeteners? Maybe if I was drinking 10 bottles of Diet Coke a day, I might be concerned. But these non-caloric sweeteners work because they are intensely sweet in tiny amounts. One packet of Splenda in my iced coffee a couple of times a week, or a diet Snapple every few days, is not something to get excited about.

Soda and candy are different in one important way: sugar in a beverage is a flavoring. Sugar in candy is the candy itself. Put this another way: you could flavor a drink with many kinds of sweeteners, and still have a drink. A non-caloric sweetener will create a sweet drink that may be very much like a drink sweetened with sugar. But this doesn’t work for candy. If you take out the sugar or corn syrup, you aren’t just taking out sweetness, you’re taking out the stuff of the candy.

So enjoy sugar in your candy, where it belongs. Or, if you really like the sweetness of sugar in something you drink, call it candy, and enjoy it the way you enjoy candy.

As for Mott’s for Tots, 40% less sugar is still lots more sugar than WATER. Juice, even reduced sugar juice, is still “liquid candy,” just like soda. My plea to the parents of America: stop giving apple juice to babies!

Welch’s Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Juice is a family favorite that’s sure to make any celebration even sweeter.

Greatness starts with caring a little more — and then giving a whole lot. Behind the greatness of Welch’s lies over 700 American farming families, cultivating the mighty Concord grape in bitter cold winters. And the result is not just delicious juices, jellies, and spreads, but a difference you can taste.

The Secret Ingredient In Your Orange Juice

Do you buy orange juice at the store? If you do, I’m sure you’re careful to buy the kind that’s 100% juice and not made from concentrate. After all, that’s the healthier kind, right? The more natural kind? The kind without any additives? The kind that’s sold in the refrigerator section so it must be almost as good as fresh-squeezed orange juice?

If I’m describing you, then you’re either going to hate me or love me by the time you’re done reading this post. The truth is, that orange juice you feel so good about buying is probably none of those things. You’ve been making assumptions based on logic. The food industry follows its own logic because of the economies of scale. What works for you in your kitchen when making a glass or two of juice simply won’t work when trying to process thousands upon thousands of gallons of the stuff.

Haven’t you ever wondered why every glass of Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice tastes the same, no matter where in the world you buy it or what time of year you’re drinking it in? Or maybe your brand of choice is Minute Maid or Simply Orange or Florida’s Natural. Either way, I can ask the same question. Why is the taste and flavor so consistent? Why is it that the Minute Maid never tastes like the Tropicana, but always tastes like its own unique beverage?

Generally speaking, beverages that taste consistently the same follow recipes. They’re things like Coca Cola or Pepsi or a Starbucks Frappuccino. When you make orange juice at home, each batch tastes a little different depending on the oranges you made it from. I hope you’re hearing warning bells in your head right about now.

The reason your store bought orange juice is so consistently flavorful has more to do with chemistry than nature.

Making OJ should be pretty simple. Pick oranges. Squeeze them. Put the juice in a carton and voilà!

But actually, there is an important stage in between that is an open secret in the OJ industry. After the oranges are squeezed, the juice is stored in giant holding tanks and, critically, the oxygen is removed from them. That essentially allows the liquid to keep (for up to a year) without spoiling– but that liquid that we think of as orange juice tastes nothing like the Tropicana OJ that comes out of the carton. (source)

In fact, it’s quite flavorless. So, the industry uses “flavor packs” to re-flavor the de-oxygenated orange juice:

When the juice is stripped of oxygen it is also stripped of flavor providing chemicals. Juice companies therefore hire flavor and fragrance companies, the same ones that formulate perfumes for Dior and Calvin Klein, to engineer flavor packs to add back to the juice to make it taste fresh. Flavor packs aren’t listed as an ingredient on the label because technically they are derived from orange essence and oil. Yet those in the industry will tell you that the flavor packs, whether made for reconstituted or pasteurized orange juice, resemble nothing found in nature. The packs added to juice earmarked for the North American market tend to contain high amounts of ethyl butyrate, a chemical in the fragrance of fresh squeezed orange juice that, juice companies have discovered, Americans favor. Mexicans and Brazilians have a different palate. Flavor packs fabricated for juice geared to these markets therefore highlight different chemicals, the decanals say, or terpene compounds such as valencine.

The formulas vary to give a brand’s trademark taste. If you’re discerning you may have noticed Minute Maid has a candy like orange flavor. That’s largely due to the flavor pack Coca-Cola has chosen for it. Some companies have even been known to request a flavor pack that mimics the taste of a popular competitor, creating a “hall of mirrors” of flavor packs. Despite the multiple interpretations of a freshly squeezed orange on the market, most flavor packs have a shared source of inspiration: a Florida Valencia orange in spring. (source)

Why aren’t these flavor packs listed as ingredients?

Good question! As with all industrial foods, it’s because of our convoluted labeling laws. You see, these “flavor packs are made from orange by-products — even though these ‘by-products’ are so chemically manipulated that they hardly qualify as ‘by-products’ any more.” (source) Since they’re made from by-products that originated in oranges, they can be added to the orange juice without being considered an “ingredient,” despite the fact that they are chemically altered.

So, what should you do about it?

First off, I must ask: Why are you drinking juice?? Juice removed from the fruit is just concentrated fructose without any of the naturally-occurring fiber, pectin, and other goodies that make eating a whole fruit good for you. Did you know, for example, that it takes 6-8 medium sized apples to make just 1 cup of apple juice? You probably wouldn’t be able to eat 6-8 medium apples in a single sitting. (I know I can barely eat one!) But you can casually throw back a cup of apple juice, and you would probably be willing to return for seconds. That’s why fruit juice is dangerous. It’s far too easy to consume far too much sugar.

So, my first piece of advice is to get out of the juice habit altogether. It’s expensive, and it’s not worth it.

My second piece of advice is to only drink juices that you make yourself, and preferably ones that you’ve turned into a healthy, probiotic beverage (like this naturally-fermented lemonade my own family enjoys). Sally Fallon Morrell’s Nourishing Traditions cookbook (pictured at right) has several lacto-fermented juice coolers that are pleasant, albeit expensive. (I especially like the Grape Cooler, Raspberry Drink, and Ginger Beer.) Want to make juicing easier? See here for where to buy juicers and Vitamix blenders.

And finally, opt out of the industrial food system as much as you can. If you learn anything at all from this post, it should be that you never know what’s in your food unless you grow it, harvest it, or make it yourself. Second best (and more practical for many, including myself) is to pay somebody I trust to do it — like the farmers at my Farmer’s Market, the cattle rancher I buy my annual grass-fed beef order from, or the chef at my local restaurant who’s willing to transparently answer questions about how he sources ingredients and what goes into the dish I’m ordering.

Edited On 7/29/2011 To Include:

I’ve gotten a number of comments and emails accusing me of being afraid of “science” or “chemicals.” To those readers, I suggest that you are missing my point entirely. As I wrote in a comment below, I think what bugs me the most about the flavor industry is that they manufacture flavor for otherwise flavorless or unpalatable foods. I think if a food needs to have synthetic flavors added to it for us to enjoy it, then we ought to question whether or not it’s actually good for us and worth eating. It’s not so much that I think the flavors are unnaturally engineered chemicals (although sometimes, as with MSG, there is cause for concern). In this post, I’m not questioning the health or merit of added chemicals (“natural” or “synthetic”) I’m questioning the health or merit of so-called foods that are so devoid of flavor or color that we have to add back in chemical flavorings and colors to make them palatable. Furthermore, I’m questioning the judgement of our regulatory bodies which allow misleading product labeling to continue.

Watch the video: 1987 Motts Apple Sauce I Got The Motts TV Commercial (July 2022).


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