More reports on: Foods / beverages

Kellogg to stop labeling some foods ''all natural''

09 May 2014

The Kellogg Company would stop labeling some of its products as "all natural" or "nothing artificial," after it settled a class-action lawsuit this week in federal court, UPI reported.

As part of the deal, the food company further agreed to pay $5 million.

The plaintiffs argued in the suit, filed first in California in 2011, that some Kashi products contained ingredients like pyridoxine hydrochloride and calcium pantothenate, for example, that were processed and should not be classified as "natural."

Though the ingredients could be derived from "natural" sources, like wheat germ, according to The New York Times, companies would at times use synthetic versions for cost and consistency reasons.

The Food and Drug Administration did not have a specific definition for "natural" ingredients, but Kashi was not the only product to come under scrutiny for its labelling practices and Ben & Jerry's, for example, agreed to stop using the term back in 2010, when consumer advocates pointed to the ice-cream maker's use of hydrogenated oils as "unnatural."

"We stand behind our advertising and labeling practices," Kellogg said in a statement. "We will comply with the terms of the settlement agreement by the end of the year and will continue to ensure our foods meet our high quality and nutrition standards while delivering the great taste people expect."

Chobani and other companies had been sued by consumers over their use of the phrase ''evaporated cane juice'' to describe a sweetener, which was simply an attempt to hide sugar, The New York Times reported.

Kashi, was once much sought by shoppers favouring organic and natural foods, but had in recent years seen eroding sales after it came under attack from consumers on social media in 2012. Consumers learned that Kellogg was a big contributor to an effort that helped defeat Proposition 37, a California ballot initiative that would have required the labeling of products containing genetically engineered ingredients.

The brand's sales had been declining even before that controversy, and last fall, John A Bryant, chief executive of Kellogg, told investors that Kashi had become too mainstream.

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