Make us your home page
Instagram

Lawsuits slam Tropicana over 'natural' orange juice claims

WASHINGTON — Orange juice maker Tropicana markets its brand as fresh from the grove, but a series of lawsuits nationwide claims the company's juice is so heavily processed it shouldn't be called "natural."

In about 20 lawsuits, the first one filed in New Jersey, lawyers claim the company adds chemically engineered "flavor packs" to its juice, making it taste the same year-round. On Thursday, lawyers came together in Washington to argue before a panel of judges about where the lawsuits should be heard as a group.

Tropicana declined to comment but said in a statement that it is committed to full compliance with labeling laws and to producing "great-tasting 100 percent orange juice."

The orange juice lawsuits are just the latest disputes over "all natural" claims. Over the past several years, a number of major national brands have been attacked for what consumers have called deceptive labeling. Tostitos, SunChips, Snapple and Ben & Jerry's ice cream have all faced similar attacks.

The Food and Drug Administration, the agency that oversees packaged food labeling in the United States, has no definition of what counts as "natural." As long as a food labeled "natural" doesn't contain added color, artificial flavor or synthetic substances, the agency doesn't object.

The Tropicana lawsuits are partly the result of a 2009 book about the orange juice industry, Alissa Hamilton's Squeezed: What You Don't Know About Orange Juice. Hamilton, a doctoral student at Yale when she started researching orange juice, spent five years learning about the industry, interviewing Tropicana employees, growers, farmers, and others. Hamilton, who has consulted with one of the firms involved in a Tropicana lawsuit, said she would like to see Tropicana be clearer in its labeling and stop using words such as "fresh," "natural" and "pure."

Lawsuits slam Tropicana over 'natural' orange juice claims 05/31/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 31, 2012 8:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    Former Florida Gov. and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their condo in downtown St. Petersburg on the market for $1.5 million. [Courtesy of Rhonda Sanderford]
  2. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain

    Business

    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  3. Higher Social Security payouts help Florida post a big jump in personal income

    Personal Finance

    Personal income grew 1.3 percent in Florida in the first quarter of this year, a four-way tie among all states for second-fastest growth behind Idaho.

  4. Trigaux: Task now is for Water Street Tampa to build an identity

    Business

    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]