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Court Ruling Against “100% Natural” Granola Bar Labeling Could Have Huge Impact on Organic Movement Going Forward

By On August 16, 2017

Should products containing GMOs and Monsanto herbicides like Roundup be considered “natural?”

The battle over the term, which isn’t regulated, has raged on for years, with large food corporations clinging to the moniker as a way to ensure customers that their products are wholesome, even though they may contain agrochemicals, GMOs and other unnatural additives and materials.

One of the biggest offenders in this equation is General Mills, a company that has attempted to maintain its wholesome image while playing both sides of the aisle (they’ve both offered to label their products containing GMOs while their CEO also simultaneously lobbied to make GMOs considered natural).

Recently, the company was on the receiving end of a court ruling that could have a tremendous impact on food packaging, and organic farming, in the near future.

Motion to Dismiss “Natural Lawsuit” Rejected By Court

According to this new article from the website EcoWatch, the District of Columbia’s Superior Court rejected General Mills’ motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by three organic-based non-profits against the company over its Nature Valley granola bars, which feature a “100% natural” label in reference to its oats, which are likely to contain glyphosate.

The ruling will allow the non-profits, Moms Across America, Organic Consumers Association, and Beyond Pesticides, to continue with their lawsuit, stating that consumers can reasonably expect a “100% Natural” labeled product to be free of herbicides.

The organizations sued in August 2016 over what they called misleading labels from the company after tests revealed the presence of glyphosate in the bars, a “probable human carcinogen” according to the World Health Organization’s IARC and the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.

“This is a huge win for consumers,” said Organic Consumers Association’s international director Ronnie Cummins. “In making this ruling, the judge reinforced the right of consumers to have reasonable expectations about what a company means by ‘natural.’ The ‘natural’ food industry is estimated at $90 billion a year. By slapping the word ‘natural’ on products that contain pesticides and other unnatural substances, corporations deceive consumers, and cut into the market share for authentically labeled healthy and certified organic products.”

The OCA is also currently protesting Ben & Jerry’s at locations across the country, including New York and Los Angeles, urging them to go organic after residues of the chemical were found in lab tests.

According to the three organizations in the lawsuit, “natural” as a term is misleading for foods that contain these residues.

“When a customer chooses a food product that says 100% Natural on the packaging, they do so because the food manufacturer has communicated to them, with that claim, that their products are without harmful, man-made chemicals,” Zen Honeycutt, founder of Moms Across America, said. “We are very pleased that this case will be heard and misleading labeling will be addressed.”

If the companies end up winning this lawsuit, it could be a huge turning point for organic farming and the organic movement in general.

With the ubiquitous nature of Roundup and similar chemicals in our environment, food companies would be forced to make some pretty sweeping changes, and adopt more organic ingredients in order to have any hope of maintaining their wholesome images.

For more information on the case including additional info on the court rulings, check out the full article by clicking here.

Thumbail image via Krazy Coupon Lady