You may think that a food product gifted with the phrase “all natural” has, you know, all natural ingredients, but this unfortunately is not always the case. The latest falsely marketed product being exposed is Nature Valley’s granola bars, a food product undoubtedly chosen by countless individuals thanks to it being marketed as healthful. But the parent company of Nature Valley, General Mills, isn’t just being called out on it’s facade; two California mothers are actually suing General Mills, claiming the food company giant falsely advertised its Nature Valley products as natural when they really contain processed ingredients.
“Our Chewy Trail mix bars are made with delicious combinations of 100% natural ingredients like whole almonds, cranberries, peanuts, and pomegranate.” In addition to claiming “100% NATURAL” on the front of the package, this is how is how the company describes Nature Valley Chewy Trail Mix bars on labels. The problem? The product actually contains high-maltose corn syrup and maltodextrin, two not-so-natural ingredients.
“High maltose corn syrup and maltodextrin are highly processed, do not exist in nature and not even under the most elastic possible definition could they be considered ‘natural,‘ “ said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group that works on public health issues and is serving as co-counsel in the lawsuit.
In addition to containing high-maltose corn syrup and maltodextrin, a few Nature Valley products may also contain high-fructose corn syrup, a harmful, often mercury-containing ingredient that has been linked to weight gain, learning and memory problems, and liver damage. It wasn’t until the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) previously voiced concerns regarding Nature Valley’s “natural” claims back in July 2010 that the company decided to omit high-fructose corn syrup.
“My daughter’s special diet requires that I select natural products and avoid artificial dyes, sweeteners, or additives—and I’m willing to pay a little bit more for products that are truly ‘all natural. Who would assume that a ’100% Natural’ product from a company called Nature Valley would have these factory-refined ingredients…I’ve figured out now that something can say it’s 100 percent natural on the outside and not be 100 percent natural. I want to make sure other people making purchases understand that, too,” Amy McKendrick, one of the mothers and a plaintiff in the lawsuit said.
The two moms seek certification to proceed as a class action, and, needless to say, plan to stop General Mills from making false and deceptive natural claims on Nature Valley products.
Mega-Corporations and the Shift to a more Health-Conscious Society
With more and more consumers becoming more health conscious, companies and corporations are swift to take advantage of the societal shift by marketing their products as being more healthful. But what many “newbies” to the health movement may not know is that many companies appearing as health-conscious are actually owned by mega-corporations – and mega-corporations seldom care about the consumer’s health or wellbeing.
- Nature Valley is owned by General Mills
- Honest Tea and Odwalla are owned by Coca-Cola
- Kashi is owned by Kellogg
- Back to Nature is owned by Kraft
Those still going through the shift from unhealthy to more health-conscious will soon know that the phrase “all natural” is very often bunk. In addition to Nature Valley, countless products claiming an “all natural” label will contain unnatural ingredients. What’s more, the products could still contain GMOs or pesticides. Such was the case with Frito-Lay’s popular ‘all natural’ snack foods like Tostitos and SunChips and many “natural” cereal products.