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Apr 18, 2014 02:46 AM

General Mills - "No Sue"

I don't see any discussion yet on General Mills' policy of trying to avoid any litigation re product defects, negligence, price conspiracies, etc The Atlantic article sets it out pretty well - but does not touch what I heard on NPR - that JUST BUYING the product can trigger a release.

An added consequence is the abrogation of any class-action suits - which makes it virtually impossible for consumers to get justice.

I also wonder why there isn't immediate talk of a Gen Mills boycott - they would quickly learn where they get their revenue from.

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    1. Well, just buying the product will not abrogate your rights. Yet, anyway. This is all about their online stuff. My understanding is that reading General Mill's page about your rights (or any other GM online stuff), takes away your right to file a class action lawsuit. They've been a good corporate neighbor in Minnesota. Now they look like Snidely Whiplash.

      8 Replies
      1. re: MplsM ary

        According to the NYT, this policy does indeed apply to purchases now:

        '“We’ve updated our privacy policy,” the company wrote in a thin, gray bar across the top of its home page. “Please note we also have new legal terms which require all disputes related to the purchase or use of any General Mills product or service to be resolved through binding arbitration.”'

        1. re: ennuisans

          That is just pitiful. Thanks for alerting me to that change.

          A list of General Mills brands (may not be complete)
          Betty Crocker (291 products)
          Big G Cereals
          Cascadian Farms
          Cinnamon Toast Crunch
          Fiber One
          Food Should Taste Good
          Fruit Roll-ups
          Gold Medal
          Good Earth
          Green Giant
          Hamburger Helper
          Lucky Charms
          Macaroni Grill
          Monsters Cereal
          Mountain High
          Muir Glen
          Nature Valley
          Old El Paso

          1. re: MplsM ary

            Glad they changed the policy; I really like the salty Uber bars, though not a frequent purchase.

          2. re: ennuisans

            I would have thought many of your consumer rights and product safety rights in the US (like other countries) are statutory obligations i.e. they are codified as laws. And thus the basic principle of law that you can't "contract out of statute" comes into force. But a quick glance of the article seems to imply it may protect them against the more frivolous and opportunistic litigation.

            1. re: PhilD

              "But a quick glance of the article seems to imply it may protect them against the more frivolous and opportunistic litigation."

              It protects them against ALL litigation as well as any class action suits - this is a throwing out the baby with the bathwater case.

              The 'protection' you allude to also prevents them from being accused in the normal judicial process - we all would like to eliminate the opportunistic and frivolous but not at the cost of losing traditional systems,

              I would hope some pressure on GM would start to happen at the cash register - I, for one, will wipe the articles on the above list off my shopping list until GM comes forth with a much more open statement.

              1. re: jounipesonen

                But what about the principle of not being able to contract out of statute? For example an employer would be open to prosecution or legal challenge if they paid below the minimum wage rates even if an employee agreed in contract because they are statutory laws. Similarity in this case if the product broke US safety laws by using banned ingredients/chemicals then a contract would not make them immune from legal process.

                1. re: PhilD

                  Is there really a difference between 'safety' laws and 'anti-slavery' laws?

                  Please - we are in the 21st Century now - might pay for a lot of people to update their calendars - next thing you know someone will be using 'More doctors smoke Camels' as a defense against peddling tobacco without warnings.

                  1. re: jounipesonen

                    I really don't understand your comment. Did you understand mine?

        2. Calling BS on this. You can't make up your own laws. If that were possible, every business in the country would be doing the same thing.

          "Well, it's regrettable that your car bursts into flames every time you try & start the windshield wipers, but it states clearly on the sales contract that that's not our problem ..."

          2 Replies
          1. re: chowyadoin99

            You just better hope the present Supreme Court doesn't get a chance to have a say on this!

            1. re: jounipesonen

              Yup. Current Supreme Court not going to stand on the side of people.

            1. re: small h

              Refreshing to know that someone out there is still using grey cells.

              Here's GM's own statement:


              1. re: small h

                "Because our concerns and intentions were widely misunderstood..." (quote by Michael Siemienas,company spokesperson) ha,ha, ha! No, methinks the concerns and intentions were UNDERSTOOD, hence the backlash.

                1. re: nofunlatte

                  I do like how fast the backlash happens, allowing me and my short attention span to immediately begin searching for the next outrage.

                2. re: small h

                  so we can eat Hamburger Helper now?

                  1. re: porker

                    Misunderstood my foot! Sometimes it's better to just shut up.

                    On the other hand - many have probably thought of what GM products of which they can do without - and that probably includes Chevrolet :-).

                    1. re: jounipesonen

                      So, they can change their minds but they can't say anything about why?

                      "On behalf of our company and our brands, we would also like to apologize. We’re sorry we even started down this path. And we do hope you’ll accept our apology. We also hope that you’ll continue to download product coupons, talk to us on social media, or look for recipes on our websites."

                      Works for me.

                    2. re: porker

                      I didn't realize it was up to me, but sure, you have my permission. Go forth and consume the GM foods of your choice.

                      1. re: small h

                        Hard to believe anyone wiith the energy to hook into CH wouldn't know tastier and healthier (and less expensive) alternatives to boxed Hamburger Helper.



                        1. re: jounipesonen

                          While I agree that Hamburger Helper is gross, the link you provided states that MSG is illegal in many countries and questions why there's no beef in the listed ingredients. I have trouble taking anything else they have to say seriously.

                          1. re: donovt

                            Questions why there's no beef in Hamburger Helper?

                            Sounds like an Onion article!

                            1. re: donovt

                              One only needs to look at the list of ingredients - and not only to be taken seriously - but it's GM's OWN list - and their idiotic idea to put that stuff into a product.

                              Health might be one issue - but what about the TASTE of all that JUNK!

                              I was just going to pluck out the list - but put the whole article for the entertainment value of 'no beef.'

                              I looked first on GM's own pages but they don't have the guts (beef or not) to tell what's in their crap. Maybe someone else would find it but I scoured and clicked for some 10 minutes.

                              1. re: jounipesonen

                                Here is a pretty good website for ingredients:


                                They aren't always up to date and I don't always agree with their assessments, but it isn't bad.

                                  1. re: donovt

                                    Looked at many many pages that had HH on the page - never found a link to ingredients. Glad you found one.

                                    Also did search on their Home page using Hamburger Helper - many links - none yielding product info - and certainly not ingredients.

                                    If I put all that CRAP in a product I'd hide it too!! :-)

                                    1. re: jounipesonen

                                      But it's not hidden. Once you pick the brand you're looking for there is a link on the side of the page. It took ten seconds to find.

                                      Again, my point isn't that hamburger helper is a quality product. Just that when inaccurate information is given, even the very valid points tend to get ignored.

                                1. re: donovt

                                  The MSG illegal bit got me - which ones? It also trots out the usual anti MSG misinformation so I also have a problem taking it seriously.

                                  1. re: PhilD

                                    Don't worry about that site - just look at the ingredient list - you're taking your eye off the ball :-)

                                    1. re: jounipesonen

                                      That site is also quite old...maybe its outdated?

                                      1. re: porker

                                        I'm afraid the list of crappy ingredients of HH is quite correct - unless GM has found some additional nonsense to add.

                                        1. re: jounipesonen

                                          OK, I'll switch to Kraft Dinner to be safe.

                                          1. re: porker

                                            Safe from what? There's crap for your health and crap for your taste? Thanks but I don't need to choose - no to both!

                                            1. re: jounipesonen

                                              So to recap, no Hamburger Helper because I can't sue General Mills (but its been changed, but still not OK).
                                              No to Kraft Dinner because no to both.

                                              Howsabout Rice-A-Roni? Its made by Quaker Oats (not on the General Mills no-fly list) plus its the San Francisco Treat!

                                              1. re: porker

                                                Wait a sec - I meant I just don't fool with 'processed foods' - taste AND health wise. The original message was simply about a corporation trying to twist the legal system. I am certainly not a fan of most GM products in any case.

                                                1. re: jounipesonen

                                                  Time to recognize when your leg is being pulled.

                                      2. re: jounipesonen

                                        Not certain which ball. I assumed it was obvious a processed convenience food would have lots of ingredients like stabilisers, emulsifiers and preservatives. Is that news?

                                        I also wasn't surprised to see something that appears to be flavoured pasta to which you add fried beef mince (I actually don't have a clue what hamburger helper is) isn't really that convenient. After all frying onions, mince and a few tomatoes, boiling plain pasta and mixing probably takes about the same time to make as it does to use the "convenience product"

                                        But what always surprise me me is the crap that, in my opinion, is pushed in the fanatical food scare sites. There is so much nonsense about MSG that I wanted to question the statement it was illegal in a number of countries. I also thought a lot of the other hysterical nonsense about convenience food ingredients was the usual scaremongering.

                                        There are lots of really good reasons to eat good fresh food, or quickly prepare food rather than open packets etc etc. Not least of which is taste.

                                2. re: porker

                                  Not me. AFAIAC, the original sleaze reveals GM's true colors. I've copied the above product list and will do my best, henceforth, not to buy products they are behind.

                                  This calls to mind the drunken rants of the likes of Mel Gibson, Michael Richards, and Brad Garrett. We're supposed to believe that the bigotry they spouted was NOT what they think deep down? Not buying that - or Barilla, or General Mills. Hey, if this keeps up it could be the newest weight-loss diet plan!

                              2. It's really easy to avoid any problem over this. Just don't buy anything they're selling.

                                We would all be much healthier if we consumed fewer boxed and canned (read processed) products.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: ChefJune

                                  That's a swell idea, excepting that I need Muir Glen no salt tomato sauce and Good Earth Sweet & Spicy herbal tea in my cupboard at all times.

                                      1. re: porker

                                        We need a new definition for Oxymoron for that :-)