Proposed Class Action Lawsuit Claims Arizona Beverage’s Gummies are Not “All Natural” Because They Contain Synthetic Ingredients
On February 11, 2020, Christopher Silva, a New York resident, filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Hornell Brewing Co. Inc., Arizona Beverages USA LLC, Beverage Marketing USA, Inc., and Arizona Beverage Co. (“Defendants”) over defendants’ “all natural” gummy snacks.
The plaintiff claims that defendants’ advertising and marketing campaign is false, deceptive, and misleading because the gummies contain several synthetic ingredients, such as ascorbic acid, citric acid, gelatin, dextrose, glucose syrup, and modified food starch. Silva seeks to represent a New York class and individual classes for all 49 other states.
In the complaint, Silva cited to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Draft Guidance Decision Tree for Classification of Materials as Synthetic or Nonsynthetic (natural). Per that guidance, a substance is natural – as opposed to synthetic – if (a) it is manufactured, produced, or extracted from a natural source (i.e. naturally occurring mineral or biological matter); (b) it has not undergone a chemical change (i.e. a process whereby a substance is transformed into one or more other distinct substances) so that it is chemically or structurally different than how it naturally occurs in the source material; or (c) the chemical change was created by a naturally occurring biological process such as composting, fermentation, or enzymatic digestion or by heating or burning biological matter.
Silva noted that while the synthetic ingredients are all listed on the back of the package, reasonable consumers are not expected or required to review the ingredients list on the back in order to confirm or debunk defendants’ prominent front-of-the-product claims. The package in question includes the phrase “All Natural” on the packaging behind the words, “Arizona” and “fruit snacks.” We will continue to monitor any developments.