False Nutritional Claims
Types of Nutritional Claims
Many companies advertise the supposed health benefits of their products by boasting on the product labels how much good nutrients and vitamins these products supposedly have. For example, product labels often make claims such as “good source of fiber,” “high in vitamin A,” “rich in antioxidants,” and so on.
Conversely, companies also make representations on the product labels of how little bad ingredients the products supposedly have. For example, these representations can include claims such as “low fat,” “reduced cholesterol,” “low sodium,” and so on.
FDA Regulations of Nutritional Claims
To prevent false advertising, all of these nutritional claims, such as “good source” “low fat,” and so on, are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). For each of these terms, the FDA has enacted different nutritional requirements that the product has to satisfy in order to have the right to display these terms on the product label.
For example, the term “good source” cannot be used unless the food contains at least 10% of the nutrient/vitamin in question. The term “rich in” can only be used if the product contains “20%” of the nutrient/vitamin in question.
Conversely, a product cannot say that it is “low fat” unless it has less than 3 grams of fat per serving, cannot say that it is low sodium unless it has less than 140 mg per serving, and so on.
You can usually check whether the product you have purchased satisfies the FDA requirements by checking its ingredient list and then comparing it to the FDA guidelines. (See http://www.calorieking.com/learnabouts/Advertising-Claims-on-Food-Packaging_OTEy.html for a good list of common nutritional claims and the corresponding FDA requirements.)
Because the FDA cannot monitor each and every label of each and every company, some companies make nutritional claims on their labels that are untrue and contrary to the FDA’s requirements. If you purchased a product with a label that you suspect makes an unjustified claim of nutritional value, contact Broslavsky & Weinman, LLP at (310) 575-2550 to speak to one of our class action attorneys