Vt. Groups Sue Food Company Over Labeling
06/19/12 4:04PM By Melody Bodette
Two organizations filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Pinnacle Foods Group, saying that the company's labeling of genetically-modified and synthetic foods as "all natural" violates the Vermont Consumer Protection Act.
Law for Food and Vermont Community Law Center point to the brands Log Cabin Syrup and Birds Eye Frozen vegetables, which are labeled as all natural. Kenneth Miller of Law for Food says consumers have a right to know what they're buying. "Log Cabin is deceiving consumers by claiming that the product is all natural, when in fact, it's not," Miller said. "It's composed of ingredients that are clearly synthetic, and we're here to make sure that these kind of business practices come to an end."
The Vermont Consumer Protection Act is designed to protect consumer from unfair and deceptive business practices. The Food And Drug Administration has not created a definition "natural," and the groups say they believe this allows the Vermont to come up with their own definition.
Chittenden County Senator Philip Baruth says the reason Log Cabin has to call the product "Table Syrup" is due to Vermont's aggressive rules on food labeling. "Vermont has been very successful in the last few years, in controlling certain words that appear on maple syrup," Baruth said. "I view this as the logical extension of that. If you can't say maple syrup, because it's deceptive, you shouldn't be able to say all natural if in fact it's genetically modified."
Baruth says the lawsuit is one approach to solving the issue, and he'll introduce a bill next session that requires GMO food labeling and allow farmers to save seeds. A bill that required labeling of GMO foods did not make it through the legislature last year.
Pinnacle Foods had little to say. "Although we have heard about a pending lawsuit, we have yet to be served and have not received any information," spokeswoman Elizabeth Rowland said in a statement.