LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — An Orange County moms group is among three nonprofit organizations that have sued General Mills for allegedly misleading consumers about an herbicide chemical the lawsuit says is found in granola bars sold by the company.
Mission Viejo-based Moms Across America along with Beyond Pesticides and Organic Consumers Association filed the complaint over phrasing used on the labeling on General Mills’ Nature Valley brand granola bars, which claims to be ““Made with 100% NATURAL whole grain OATS”, according to the lawsuit.
The complaint (PDF) specifically cites the alleged “use and presence” of the chemical glyphosate in General Mills’ Nature Valley Granola products.
Glyphosate is a chemical found in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer and other products, as well as the production of oats, which is “the major ingredient” in Nature Valley’s natural-labeled granola bars, according to the suit.
“As a mother, when I read “100% Natural” I would expect that to mean no synthetic or toxic chemicals at all,” said Moms Across America founder and executive director Zen Honeycutt. “Glyphosate is a toxic chemical that the EPA recognizes as a ‘reproductive effector’ which ‘can cause liver and kidney damage’ and ‘digestive effects.’
“It is unacceptable that Nature Valley granola bars contain any amount of this chemical”, Honeycutt added.
The lawsuit alleges that General Mills failed to disclose to consumers the use and presence of glyphosate when marketing Nature Valley products, and seeks to force General Mills to remove its “natural” labeling – which the complaint describes as “false, deceptive, and misleading” – from the marketplace.
However, images of Nature Valley granola bar packaging on the official General Mills website don’t appear to contain the phrasing cited in the complaint.
In response to the suit, General Mills spokesman Mike Siemienas released this statement to CBSLA: “We stand behind our products and the accuracy of our labels.”
Earlier this summer, General Mills announced a voluntary recall of four flavors of Nature Valley bars over concerns of the potential presence of listeria.
Click here to read the full complaint.