Tropicana Juice "It is not natural orange juice. It is instead a product that is scientifically
engineered in laboratories, not nature"
NEWS: Tropicana 100% Orange Juice False Advertising Class Action Lawsuit
What You Don't Know About Orange Juice "It's not simply orange, it's complicated orange"
Tropicana Orange Juice Isn't "Natural," Class Actions say
01 June 2012
A federal class action lawsuit claims Tropicana falsely advertises its orange juice as "100% pure and natural," even though it is "heavily processed and flavored."
it is “pasteurized, de-aerated, stripped of flavor and aroma, stored for long periods of time before available to the public, and colored and flavored before being packaged,” the class action lawsuit says.
The truth, according to the Tropicana 100% juice class action lawsuit, is that like all mass-marketed orange juice, Tropicana's cannot be fresh squeezed because fresh-squeezed orange juice is unstable and has a short shelf-life. To extend shelf life, Tropicana orange juice "undergoes extensive processing which includes the addition of aromas and flavors" that change "the essential nature" of Tropicana juice, the class action lawsuit states.
"It is not natural orange juice. It is instead a product that is scientifically engineered in laboratories, not nature, which explains its shelf-life of more than two months."
Hoax or Fact:
The messages talk about a class action lawsuit that claims Tropicana falsely advertises its orange juice as "100% pure and natural," while it is scientifically engineered in laboratories, processed and flavored. Yes, it is a fact.
About the Issue
Tropicana markets its Orange juice as fresh from the grove, but a series of nationwide lawsuits in USA in June 2012 claim that the juice is heavily processed and should not be called "natural." Tropicana declined to comment on this initially, maintaining that they are in full compliance with labeling laws in producing this "great-tasting 100 percent orange juice."
It is interesting to note that not just Tropicana, in past few years, other brands like Tostitos, SunChips, Snapple and Ben & Jerry's ice cream have been attacked by consumers for such deceptive labeling. With growing health concerns among consumers, companies started branding their products as "all natural", while the Food and Drug Administration did not have clear guidelines for labeling relating to what counts as "natural."
In 2007, Snapple was sued that its natural labeled drinks contained high fructose corn syrup, which is made by processing corn that does not occur naturally. Snapple said that it no longer uses high fructose corn syrup in products marked "all natural," after which a New York judge ultimately ruled the case in Snapple's favor and closed it. There are many such lawsuits questioning the use of the term - natural.
About the Class Action Lawsuit
The lawsuit complaint alleged that the Tropicana juice is not all natural, but “pasteurized, deaerated, stripped of flavor and aroma, and stored for long periods of time before available to the public, and colored and flavored before being packaged.” Some plaintiffs also argued that long term storage of the product and usage of chemically engineered “flavor packs” in the making of the juice deviated from Tropicana’s natural claims. They even pointed that Tropicana container featured an image of an orange pierced by a straw giving a false impression to the consumers that they are fresh and straight from the orange.
Tropicana sought to dismiss the lawsuit on preemption grounds, also maintaining that they have adhered to the FDA's regulations by labeling the product as "pasteurized orange juice." However, in July 2013, Judge Cavanaugh of a federal court in New Jersey declined to dismiss the suit and reminded the importance of accurate and complete labeling of a product’s ingredients.
As suggested by the company, the court did not find any supporting evidence for the idea that Tropicana’s consumers “understood the intricacies relating to the shelf life and processing of the orange juice so as to destroy a reasonable expectation of the product’s freshness.” Instead, “allowing this matter to progress to the discovery phase will provide the court with a more detailed answer to the question of whether the named plaintiffs believed they were getting fresh, as opposed to pasteurized, orange juice.”
The court allowed claims for violations of the New York and New Jersey consumer protection laws, breach of warranty, and unjust enrichment to move forward, but the claims under Wisconsin law for false and deceptive advertising for “merchandise” and punitive damages were dismissed.
It is a fact that labels like 'natural' on many consumer products including Tropicana Orange juice are misleading the consumers. FDA and health agencies around the world should set clear guidelines for product labeling, especially when using words like "fresh," "natural" and "pure." Also, the companies should modify their marketing tactics so that consumers can make an informed judgement on their purchases.
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United States district court, district of New Jersey Hon. Dennis M. Cavanaugh opinion