Business, Finance & Economics

Fruit Roll-Ups dust up


A snack vending machine in Des Plaines, Ill. A lawsuit alleges that General Mills has misled customers into thinking Fruit Roll-Ups are a healthy alternative to snacks like these.


Tim Boyle

Fruit Roll-Ups maker General Mills is the target of a class action lawsuit that charges the company is misleading consumers into thinking its pressed “fruit flavored” snacks are healthy, Reuters reports.

The suit was filed on behalf of a California consumer on Friday by attorneys from Washington, D.C.-based nutrition advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest, according to Reuters.

Labels on General Mills’ Fruit Roll-Ups, Fruit by the Foot, and Fruit Gushers packaging describe the snacks as "fruit flavored," "naturally flavored, a "good source of Vitamin C,” "low fat," and "gluten free," Adweek reports.

"In fact, Defendant’s Fruit Snacks contained trans fat, added sugars, and artificial food dyes; lacked significant amounts of real, natural fruit; and had no dietary fiber,” the complaint read, according to Adweek.

“It's an elaborate hoax on parents who are trying to do right by their kids," Steve Gardner, an attorney with Dallas-based Seema Rattan and the litigation director for CSPI, told Adweek. "General Mills is basically dressing up a very cheap candy as if it were a fruit and charging a premium for it."

"We stand behind our products – and we stand behind the accuracy of the labeling of those products," General Mills representative Kris Patton said in an email, Reuters reports.

According to Business Insider:

General Mills has been in this predicament before. Just a few months ago, a woman sued the company for $5 million over its marketing of fruit snacks; and in 2009, the FDA stopped General Mills from promoting Cheerios as a product with cancer-fighting and cholesterol-reducing capabilities.