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Aug 22, 2012 06:44 AM

Time to Sue Big Food

This article appeared in the NY Times recently

"More than a dozen lawyers who took on the tobacco companies have filed 25 cases against industry players like ConAgra Foods, PepsiCo, Heinz, General Mills and Chobani that stock pantry shelves and refrigerators across America.

The suits, filed over the last four months, assert that food makers are misleading consumers and violating federal regulations by wrongly labeling products and ingredients. While there has been a barrage of litigation against the industry in recent years, the tobacco lawyers are moving particularly aggressively. They are asking a federal court in California to halt ConAgra’s sales of Pam cooking spray, Swiss Miss cocoa products and some Hunt’s canned tomatoes."

I wish 'em luck. It's not like the FDA is doing much:

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  1. So the labeling issue are things like 'evaporated cane juice', '100% natural', 'propellant', and various nutrition claims.

    1. I don't see how they can prove damages, I ate that kind of food for most of my life and I don't think I'm dead yet

      2 Replies
      1. re: redfish62

        Though I haven't seem the complaints, it appears to me that these actions sound in fraud and deceptive practices, not personal injury where proof of damages to the person would be relevant. The damages in these cases would be tied to the profits made through the consequences of the deceptions.

        1. re: MGZ

          Yup, it's a disgorgement issue rather than assigning individual damages.

        1. I get it, but I wonder what Grandma Clueless thought made the spray cans work.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Samalicious

            is an MSDS for Pam that lists nitrous oxide as the propellant.

            According to the Wiki article on aerosol cans, CFCs used to be common. Now hydrocarbons like isobutane are widely used. But nitrous oxide and CO2 are used in food applications, especially ones like whipped cream where the propellant remains part of the foam. Note those gases are also used in the cream whippers you see molecular gastronomy people use to make flavored foams.

            There are lots of sites that claim Pam uses hydrocarbons, but none seem to be authoritative. Even if it did I wouldn't worry about it, since there is plenty of opportunity for the propellant to evaporate from the thin coating. But using a combustible gas as propellant seems risky in stove top application like this. I wonder if there is a 'burn test' for propellants.

            1. re: paulj

              To be fair, that is the MSDS that discloses nitrous oxide. It seems from the article that the plaintiffs lawyers have seen others that list other chemicals for the propellants. Regardless, shouldn't the labels disclose whatever they are, as opposed to simply "propellant"? I mean why not list the nitrous, if in fact that's all there is?