Food Industry

Published on August 14th, 2013 | by Jennifer Kaplan


Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Sued Over ‘Natural’ Label

Goldfish GMO
I was sad (but not surprised) to see that Pepperidge Farm has been sued for claiming that its Goldfish crackers are ‘ natural’ when they contain ingredients derived from GMO soybeans.

Goldfish With GMOs Are Not ‘Natural’

In a trend recently on the upswing, consumer groups and class action lawyers have joined together to fight large food manufacturers against bogus ‘natural’ marketing claims on products. In June, Pepperidge Farm  joined a growing list of companies when it was targeted with a putative class action suit that alleges the company falsely marketed its Goldfish crackers as ‘natural’ when certain product flavors, including cheddar, are not ‘natural.’ According to, the suit alleges that Pepperidge Farm’s cheddar flavor Goldfish products contain genetically modified soy in the form of soybean oil, as well as synthetic vitamin B1, riboflavin, folic acid and leavening. The labels on many packages boldly declare “Natural”and “No Artificial Preservatives”

At the heart of the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish lawsuit is whether food made from GMOs is ‘natural.’ The complaint asserts:

GMOs and any food that incorporates GMOs cannot be considered natural because they are the result of an artificial laboratory procedure that forcibly introduces foreign DNA into the cells of a plant.

Battle Over ‘Natural’ Labeling Continues

The list of companies that have been recently subjected to class action suits for using “natural’ on their labels continues to grow. Almost all of the recent lawsuits concerning the misuse of the term ‘natural’ on food packaging have been settled, with the guilty companies have committed marketing sins that range from products that contain GMOs (Barbara’s BakeryNaked Juice), products that contain synthetic chemicals (Skinnygirl Cocktails) to flagrantly exaggerating health claims (POM Pomegranate JuiceVitaminwater and Chobani Greek Yogurt).

It looks like these lawsuits will only continue in the near future. One hopes that it will make food manufacturers pause before positioning their products as ‘natural’ if they aren’t as natural as they could be.

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About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - follow her on and .

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