General Mills Has To 'Pear' Down Its Strawberry Claims for Fruit Roll-Ups

Friday, 04 Jan 2013 02:34 PM

By Dale Eisinger

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To settle a class-action lawsuit with a nutrition watchdog group, General Mills has agreed to modify labeling on its strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups to more accurately reflect the ingredients of the snack, a favorite in American lunch boxes.

The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest released a statement saying its suit had been resolved after General Mills had agreed to change the packaging of just the one flavor.

As a result, the strawberry flavor of Fruit Roll-Ups will no longer have images of strawberries on the packaging. The strawberry flavor is actually made with pears from concentrate, as well as corn syrup, dried corn syrup, sugar, and "natural flavors," among other ingredients.

In addition, as long as the snack’s packaging boasts that it is made from real fruit, it will also have to disclose what percentage of the snack actually is natural.

"By stating the actual percentage of fruit in the product, these labels will be less likely to lead consumers to believe that the product is all or mostly fruit," CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner said in the Dec. 21 statement. "A more accurate name for the product would be Pear Naturally Flavored Fruit Roll-Ups, since pear is present and strawberry is absent. But the removal of pictures of strawberries is a step in the right direction. We are pleased to have worked cooperatively with General Mills to reach this agreement."

When the lawsuit was announced, Gardner didn't mince words over CSPI’s interest in the case.

“General Mills is basically dressing up a very cheap candy as if it were fruit and charging a premium for it,” he said. “General Mills is giving consumers the false impression that these products are somehow more wholesome, and charging more. It’s an elaborate hoax on parents who are trying to do right by their kids.”

The suit originated with Annie Lam, a California woman who accepted legal representation from CSPI.

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