Environmental health organization and anti-pesticide group, Beyond Pesticides, has filed a lawsuit against Mott’s, a brand under the Dr Pepper Snapple Group. According to Beyond Pesticides, Mott’s is deliberately misleading its customers by labeling its applesauce products as “natural” and made with “all natural ingredients”. Mott’s applesauce has been found to contain traces of the pesticide acetamiprid, a neonicotinoid insecticide that has been attributed to the declining honeybee population, and has also been associated with developmental problems in the brains of children and unborn babies.
The group claimed that Mott’s labels have led consumers to believe that their applesauce products to be free of synthetic substances; they added that Mott’s should know or should have known that consumers purchase foods with the “natural” to try and “limit the amount of pesticides they and their families ingest.”
In the organization’s official press release, Beyond Pesticides Executive Director Jay Feldman criticized the brand, stating: “People are looking for food products that are healthy for their family, children, and the environment, and deceptive ‘natural’ labeling of products grown with pesticides undermines their best intentions.” (Related: Neonicotinoid pesticides not just a threat to bees; humans also at risk)
Indeed, LadyFreethinker.org reported that over half of consumers seek out “natural” foods under the belief that these products clear of pesticides, GMOs, hormones, or artificial ingredients. However, the government has yet to to classify an official designation for the word. Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate the “natural” or “all natural ingredients” labels. This is unsurprising in itself since the FDA approves over 100,000 product labels a year, according to FoodDiver.com.
“We have seen the use of the word ‘natural’ undermine the perceived value of the organic label, which has broader health and environmental benefits,” Feldman commented in a statement to LadyFreethinker.org. “Litigation on misleading labeling is a strategy that will force the marketplace to drop the use of ‘natural’ labeling when ingredients are produced or processed with synthetic substances.” Feldman further added that Beyond Pesticides would gladly support an outright ban of “natural” labels, as the majority of consumers are unable to discern the truth in the claims of companies. Adding to this is the fact that consumers have certain expectations for food products that allege to be “natural”.
As noted by FoodDive.com, Mott’s is far from being the first brand to come under fire for using the “natural” label on its products. Nature Valley, Naked Juice, and General Mills have been on the receiving end of lawsuits concerning their package labeling practices. However, all of these are still in the courts and no verdicts have been reached.
The case been filed under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act. The Richman Law Group is representing Beyond Pesticides.
Remain up to date on what pesticides could be tainting your food supply by visiting Pesticides.news. You can also visit Ingredients.news to read up on the products lining the displays of your local grocery.