Filed Under: Food Police

CSPI: 100 Percent Litigious

Another day, another lawsuit based on a flawed report from the decidedly unscientific food cops at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). “Smucker’s line of ‘Simply 100% Fruit’ simply isn’t 100 percent fruit,” CSPI asserts. “In fact,” the group warned last week, “Smucker’s ‘Strawberry Spreadable Fruit’ is only 30 percent actual strawberries.”

Wait a minute. It may be only 30 percent whole berries, but that doesn’t mean it’s not 100 percent fruit.

CSPI’s crack team of scientists informs us that Smucker’s Strawberry Spreadable Fruit is also made from fruit syrup, lemon juice concentrate, pectin, red grape juice concentrate and “other unspecified ‘natural ingredients.'” Good work, guys. That’s what’s on the label’s ingredients list.

Despite having done nothing to question Smucker’s claim that its product is indeed 100 fruit, CSPI invited a lawsuit against the company. “Calling these spreads ‘100 percent fruit’ is 100 percent fraudulent,” CSPI implausibly claimed. To no one’s surprise, Smucker’s has already been sued. A lawyer in Wisconsin announced last week that he will seek class action status on behalf of the millions of grocery customers who were supposedly misled by seeing the word “fruit” and mistaking it for “strawberries.”

This is just the latest in a long line of food-industry lawsuits inspired by CSPI. And the group has instigated its share of these frivolous legal actions. The day after announcing that, indeed, ice cream has fat and sugar in it, CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson and legal shark John Banzhaf warned ice cream retailers that they may be sued for not sufficiently trumpeting the nutritional content of their treats.

Before releasing its report on dietary acrylamide to the public last year, CSPI gave it to California lawyers — lawyers who had filed over 5,000 suits in just two months under California’s insane Proposition 65 law. That resulted in lawsuit notices against six major food companies and restaurants.

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