More 'Natural' Claims Land GMO-filled Frito Lay with Class-Action Lawsuits

Sunchips

Top-selling snack manufacturer, Frito Lay—a division of PepsiCo—is facing a new lawsuit over “all-natural” claims made on its Tostitos and SunChips snack brands.

The use of ingredients that are made from genetically modified corn, soy and canola are the reason for the claims filed by Chris Shake in a New York court earlier this month. Shake claims he paid extra money for the products marketed as “all-natural” instead of opting for lower-priced competing products that did not claim to contain any natural ingredients.

Shake’s suit is actually the second one filed in the last several months against the Frito Lay company for misleading marketing. In December of 2011, Julie Gengo filed a similar claim in the Central District Court of California citing the natural claims on Frito Lays packaging as deceptive.

Organizations such as the Center for Food Safety have asked the FDA to require labeling of GMOs, and a 2012 California ballot initiative is currently underway and could make the state the first to require labeling on any foods containing GMO ingredients.

The World Health Organization defines genetically modified organisms as: “organisms in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally,” and the California Department of Food and Agriculture estimates that 70 percent of processed foods sold in U.S. supermarkets and restaurants now contain genetically modified ingredients. In 2010, 93 percent of soy, 86 percent of corn and 93 percent of cotton and canola planted in the U.S. were genetically engineered.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. Twitter @jillettinger | www.jillettinger.com.