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No fruit in Fruit by the Foot? General Mills sued over snacks [Updated]

October 18, 2011 |  9:49 am

FruitThere’s not much fruit in General Mills snacks such as Fruit Roll-Ups, Fruit by the Foot and Fruit Gushers, alleges a new suit against the giant food company.

Instead, the candies are stuffed with sugars, artificial additives and dyes, according to a complaint filed Friday in federal court in California. The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, filing on behalf of Northern California mother Annie Lam, claims that the products give a misleading impression of being healthy by professing to be low in calories, fat and gluten.

The Washington, D.C. organization said that labels calling the snacks “naturally flavored” or “made with real fruit” violate laws governing deceptive advertising and fraudulent business practices.

While Strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups contain no strawberries, according to the group, the complaint alleges that the product’s contents include pears from concentrate, corn syrup and other components such as acetylated monoglycerides, malic acid and a dye called Red 40.

[Updated 10:05 a.m.: Minnesota-based General Mills said it still had not been served with the suit and would not comment on the claims.

"We stand behind our products — and we stand behind the accuracy of the labeling of those products," the company said in a statement.]

“General Mills is basically dressing up a very cheap candy as if it were fruit and charging a premium for it,” said Steve Gardner, litigation director for the science center. “It’s an elaborate hoax on parents who are trying to do right by their kids.”


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Photo credit: General Mills