FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday,
January 2, 2009
Contact: Jeff Cronin, 202-777-8370, or Stacey Greene, 202-777-8316
Court Scolds Gerber for Marketing Candy
as “Fruit Juice Snacks”
Lawsuit Against Company to Move Forward
WASHINGTON—The Gerber Products Company, owned
by Nestleì, has drawn harsh criticism from a U.S. Court of Appeals for
using pictures of real fruit to market a gummi-bear-like candy formerly
called “Fruit Juice Snacks.” The Court said consumers would likely
be deceived because the package depicts images of oranges, cherries and
strawberries, though the leading ingredients are corn syrup and sugar.
brought against Gerber by a private citizen was initially dismissed by
a Federal District Court in California, but then reinstated by the
Court of Appeals
for the 9th Circuit
on December 22. Gerber argued that consumers could avoid being misled by
turning the package around and reading the ingredient list. But the
Court stated consumers should not be “expected to look beyond misleading
representations on the front of the box to discover the truth from the
ingredient list in small print on the side of the box.”
“The Court’s decision is a warning to all
companies that try to make junk food look healthy by depicting nutritious
fruits, vegetables and whole grains on the labels of sugary, high-calorie
snacks,” said Bruce Silverglade, CSPI director of legal affairs.
Gerber has since renamed the product “Juice
Treats,” but continues to sell it alongside its baby and toddler food
instead of at the candy counter. With corn syrup and sugar as the major
ingredients, the product contains far more refined sugar than fruit juice
concentrate. CSPI will serve as lead counsel when proceedings resume.
The Center for Science in the Public
Interest is a nonprofit health advocacy group based in Washington, DC,
that focuses on nutrition, food safety, and pro-health alcohol policies.
CSPI is supported by the 900,000 U.S. and Canadian subscribers to
its Nutrition Action Healthletter and by foundation grants.