Pepperidge Farms' GMO Goldfish Brings Latest Lawsuit for Misuse of 'Natural' Claims

pepperidge farms goldfsh

In what’s becoming a rather regular occurrence, another dissatisfied customer has sued a food manufacturer over what they claim is the fraudulent use of the word “natural” in marketing a product containing genetically modified foods.

Pepperidge Farms, the manufacturer of the popular Cheddar Goldfish snack crackers is facing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit from Florida resident, Lisa Leo over the GMO ingredients in its products.

Leo, an elementary school teacher, filed the lawsuit because she claims the product is being falsely advertised by Pepperidge Farms. Leo is seeking class-action status and more than $5 million in damages for reimbursement to Florida residents who have purchased the crackers (since 2009), which contain ingredients made from genetically modified soybeans.

Leo is also asking that Pepperidge Farms be ordered to update their labels to reflect the GMO ingredients or remove the natural claims, the Sun Sentinel reports. “Consumers have a right to know what they’re putting in their bodies,” said Joshua Eggnatz, Leo’s Weston-based attorney. “You may not think GMOs are bad for you, but others may, and the consumer has a right to know and to choose.”

While no federal regulations currently exist for the use of the term “natural” on foods that contain GMOs, there have been a number of lawsuits filed against some of the most popular food brands over misuse of the term recently. Tropicana, Frito Lay, PepsiCo, and ConAgra are just some of the food manufacturers who have been targeted by consumers over using natural to describe GMOs. The World Health Organization defines GMOs as not occurring naturally.

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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 and, 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.