Kellogg back in court over alleged misrepresentation of sugar-laden breakfast cereals, snacks

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Just a spoon full of sugar ... Pic: ©GettyImages/ClarkandCompany
Just a spoon full of sugar ... Pic: ©GettyImages/ClarkandCompany

Related tags: Sugar, Lawsuit

Four New York residents have filed a class action lawsuit against Kellogg, alleging it leverages a practice of marketing its high-sugar cereals and snack bars with ‘aggressive health and wellness claims.’

Melody DiGregorio, Eric Fishon, Kerry Austin and Nafeesha Madyun filed a complaint in the US District Court for the Northern District of New York against Kellogg Sales Co. alleging fraud, intentional and negligent misrepresentation, breach of express and implied warranties, and unjust enrichment.

The plantiffs contend that several of Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain cereal bars and three of its breakfast cereals – including Raisin Bran, Frosted Mini-Wheats and Smart Start – contain high amounts of added sugars.

However, they allege the company uses marketing and labeling statements – such as ‘help recharge your body’ and ‘offer the nutrients our bodies want to work and feel their best,’ as well as whole grain, high fiber and real fruit claims – which suggest the products are ‘healthy choices.’

Toxic shock

The suit states that ‘despite the compelling evidence that sugar acts as a chronic liver toxin,’​ the defendant uses the claims to increase the price, sales and market share of its products.

‘The scientific evidence is compelling: Excessive consumption of added sugar istoxic to the human body.

‘Experimentally sound, peer-reviewed studies and meta-analyses convincingly show that consuming excessive added sugar – any amount above approximately 5% of daily caloric intake – greatly increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, liver disease and a wide variety of other chronic morbidity.’

The suit includes an extensive list of reference studies backing its claims and squarely places sugar in the category with addictive drugs like cocaine and alcohol.

It claims a lifelong habit of consuming sugar elicits chemical changes in the brain’s reward centre and mirrors the same cravings and withdrawal characteristics.

Not sugar coated

A Kellogg spokesperson told BakeryandSnacks the company does not comment on ongoing litigating.

However, he added, “Kellogg believes in transparency and ensuring consumers have access to the information they want and need to make decisions about what food to buy. We include all nutrition information on our packaging.”

The Kellogg’s class action lawsuit seeks changes to the company’s marketing strategies, as well as restitution, interest, court costs and attorneys’ fees.

The plaintiffs are represented by Jack Fitzgerald of The Law Office of Jack Fitzgerald PC.

Lawsuit:

DiGregorio, et al. v. Kellogg Sales Company, US District Court for the Northern District of New York, Case No. 3:19-cv-00632-GTS-ATB.

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