A New York resident says Horizon Organic Vanilla Lowfat Milk doesn’t contain real vanilla.
Lead plaintiff Wendy Lamouth alleges in the Horizon Organic class action lawsuit that she and other consumers were duped into purchasing products that were supposedly vanilla flavored but, in reality, used “fraudulent” vanilla.
The plaintiff says she paid a premium for “single serving cartons of milk purporting to be flavored exclusively by vanilla under their Horizon Organic brand.”
The single servings of Horizon Organic Vanilla Lowfat Milk are allegedly labeled “organic” and are sold at a premium, for $2.29 per 8 oz. package.
The Horizon Organic class action lawsuit contends that vanilla is a highly desirable flavoring; however, vanilla beans, the source of the flavor, are expensive – second to only saffron in price.
The complaint states that consumer demand for vanilla cannot be met by natural sources, “leading manufacturers to devise clever, deceptive and dangerous methods to imitate vanilla’s flavor and appearance.”
“Today, headlines tell a story of a resurgent global threat of ‘food fraud’ – from olive oil made from cottonseeds to the horsemeat scandal in the European Union,” alleges the complaint.
“Though ‘food fraud’ has no agreed-upon definition, its typologies encompass an ever-expanding, often overlapping range of techniques with one common goal: giving consumers less than what they bargained for.”
According to the Horizon Organic class action lawsuit, food manufacturers often use a synthetic version of vanilla flavoring, vanillin, in products. At this point, alleges the complaint, at least 98 percent of the vanillin used by food producers is not even sourced from the vanilla plant.
The plaintiff says food producers who use vanillin to flavor vanilla varieties of their products are required to disclose the use of vanillin and that it is artificial flavoring.
“Where a product is labeled with the unqualified term ‘vanilla’ yet its ingredient list does not identify vanilla extract or vanilla flavoring as the only flavor ingredient in the product, the front labeling is misleading,” alleges the Horizon Organic class action lawsuit.
Horizon Organic misleads consumers with the products’ labeling, including statements that the product contains vanilla and “Real Milk.”
“’Real Milk,’ contributes to the impression the Product contains ‘Real Vanilla,’ understood as only vanilla,” contends the complaint.
Further, the ingredients list on the product states that it contains “Organic Natural Flavor.”
“’Organic natural flavor’ does not refer to an exclusively vanilla ingredient, but an ingredient which contains some vanilla along with non-vanilla flavors and enhancers,” alleges the Horizon Organic class action lawsuit.
“The representations are misleading because the Product does not contain the amount, type and/or percentage of vanilla as a component of its flavoring, which is required by law and consistent with consumer expectations,” the plaintiff says.
The Horizon Organic class action lawsuit seeks to represent a nationwide Class of consumers who purchased the vanilla lowfat milk product.
This isn’t the first class action to hit Horizon Organic over labeling claims. In January 2018, a class action lawsuit alleged that Horizon Organic milk with DHA added was misleadingly labeled because the DHA used in the products was not derived from an organic source.
Have you purchased Horizon Organic Vanilla Lowfat Milk? Are you surprised that the product allegedly does not contain real vanilla? Tell us more!
The plaintiff is represented by Spencer Sheehan of Sheehan & Associates PC.
The Horizon Organic Lowfat Milk Class Action Lawsuit is Lamouth v. Horizon Organic Dairy LLC, Case No. 1:19-cv-11928, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
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