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Sugar free class action against Wrigley thrown out

By Oliver Nieburg+

13-Jan-2014

Wrigley sugar free labels comply with federal law, rules judge
Wrigley sugar free labels comply with federal law, rules judge

A class action lawsuit alleging Wrigley made misleading “sugar free” claims has been dismissed by a Californian court.

The case brought by Californian consumer Phyllis Gustavson alleged that Mars subsidiary Wrigley had misbranded several products under the Eclipse, Polar Ice, Orbit and Lifesavers brands as ‘sugar free’.

The claimant alleged that Wrigley’s products purported to contain fewer calories than sugared gum and candies in violation of federal and Californian labelling laws.

However, the case was dismissed by US district judge Lucy Koh last week.

The court said that Gustavson had attempted to impose labelling requirements that were not identical to federal requirements. It ruled that Wrigley’s product labels complied with federal regulations.

Gustavson had also argued that Wrigley’s sugar free products failed to disclose on packs that they were sweetened with nutritive and non-nutritive sweeteners. She also said that Wrigley’s website identified artificial sweeteners such as maltitol, sorbitol and xylitol as “noncaloric” when all three were nutritive sweeteners.

But the judge said that Gustavson lacked standing to make such claims as she had not viewed Wrigley’s website.

Gustavson has also launched separate legal action against Mars Chocolate that alleges the firm has illegally mislead consumers about calorie information, high levels of fat and saturated fat and cholesterol in products such as Snickers, M&Ms and Dove bars.

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