Four New Jersey residents won a federal court order rejecting Campbell’s Soup request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the women who claim the Camden, NJ soup manufacturer misleads consumers with its low-sodium claims.
Campbell’s is accused of selling their 25% Less Sodium soups for a higher price than their regular offerings, and the plaintiffs complaint says Campbell’s marketing of their low-sodium Tomato Soup is false advertising because it actually has the same amount of sodium—480 milligrams—as its regular sodium version.
The presiding U.S. District Judge, Jerome Simandle, ruled that the class-action lawsuit can move forward, writing in his opinion, “It was reasonable for plaintiffs to expect that the soups they were receiving had 25 percent to 30 percent less sodium than the regular tomato soup, when the soups in fact had approximately the same amount of sodium.”
According to one of the plaintiffs, Bergen County resident, Diane Semon, 57, who buys low-sodium foods for her husband’s heart condition, “You expect to get what (the label) says and you try to make good decisions for yourself and for your family.” Frustrated by Campbell’s low-sodium claims, Semon said, “It’s a learning lesson that you can’t trust what you read, and you should be able to.”
In a statement from Campbell’s, the manufacturer said it was confident in the accuracy of its labeling, and its reason for seeking to dismiss the case argued that the FDA does not require the company to specify how the low-sodium products compare with their regular soups.
Health experts including The Institute of Medicine (IOM) have been urging the FDA to take regulatory action on reducing sodium levels in U.S. food products to align with the recommended U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Congress directed the IOM in 2008 to make strategic recommendations for sodium reduction, which currently suggest that Americans consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.
Read more on salt here.
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