Companies are learning that it’s not all high prices and profits when they claim their products are more virtuous.
Quaker Oats is the most recent to feel the string of angry consumers who have filed lawsuits in California and New York.
They say PepsiCo Inc., which owns Quaker Oats, misled them with advertisements declaring their product “100 per cent natural”.
But the consumers say glyphosate is sprayed on oat fields, first to get rid of weeds before planting, then as a dessicant to prepare the crop for harvest.
That, they claim, probably means there are glyphosate residues in Quaker Oats products and it’s not listed as an ingredient.
Chipotle restaurant chain is also taking it on the chin for food poisonings, exposing the company as less caring than its high-profile claims such as GMO free and high standards of welfare for meat and poultry products.
“Quaker knows that consumers seek out and wish to purchase whole, natural foods that do not contain chemicals, and that consumers will pay more for foods that they believe to be natural,” lawyers for the New York consumers wrote in a complaint.
“By deceiving consumers about the nature, quality, and/or ingredients of its Quaker Oats, Quaker is able to sell a greater volume of Quaker Oats, to charge higher prices for Quaker Oats, and to take away market share from competing products.”
The consumers, whose suits in federal courts in New York and California seek class-action status, want refunds and more money for “damages”.
The company did not immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment, reports Bloomberg News service.