A group of eight plaintiffs have filed a deceptive marketing class action lawsuit against Colgate-Palmolive Company and its subsidiary Tom’s of Maine because the Tom’s of Maine toothpaste allegedly includes highly chemically processed ingredients, which are not natural.
These ingredients include glycerin and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). “Glycerin is a chief ingredient in all of the formulations of Tom’s of Maine toothpastes,” the false advertising class action lawsuit states.
This is allegedly true of the Tom’s of Maine Whitening, Multi-Benefit, Fresh Breath, Anticavity, Sensitive, Children’s Flouride-Free and SLS-Free toothpastes. SLS is one of the main ingredients in all of the toothpaste products except the specific SLS-free product line.
According to the Tom’s of Maine class action lawsuit, “the term ‘natural’ only applies to those products that contain no unnatural or synthetic ingredients and consist entirely of ingredients that are only minimally processed.”
However, the plaintiffs allege that the term “natural” was used by Tom’s of Maine to create “consumer confusion.”
“Plaintiffs allege that [Tom’s of Maine] dishonestly described certain products as being ‘natural’ when, in fact, they were not,” the class action lawsuit claims.
According to the deceptive marketing class action lawsuit, “the term ‘natural’ was clear and prominent on the packaging and advertising of products.”
For example, the term “natural” is allegedly used on the packaging of Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry flavor toothpaste for kids five times in phrases such as “natural children’s toothpaste” and “natural fruit flavor.”
According to the Tom’s of Maine class action lawsuit, non-natural and chemically processed ingredients such as glycerin and sodium lauryl sulfate are ingredients commonly found in “household products, such as dishwashing liquids and shampoos, which people would not willingly put into their mouths, let alone ingest,” which can allegedly be the case with children who are learning how to brush their teeth.
“Glycerin is a factory-produced texturizer that is created by complex processing and does not occur in nature,” the class action lawsuit explains. “Sodium lauryl sulfate is factory-produced foaming agent that is created by complex processing and also does not occur in nature.” It is a common ingredient in shampoos, dishwashing soaps and laundry detergents.
According to the class action lawsuit, Tom’s of Maine customers have paid a premium price for its toothpaste because of the “natural” claim, which cost about $4.00 to $6.00 compared with mainstream brands like Crest, Oragel and Arm & Hammer, which start at $2.00 per tube of toothpaste.
The Tom’s of Maine natural class action lawsuit alleges that Colgate and Tom’s of Maine have violated consumer protection laws in all 50 states as well as the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
The false advertising class action lawsuit named three plaintiffs — Falosha Martin, Sonia Severino, and Lichun Huo — and five “John Does” from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, and Illinois. The plaintiffs are looking to represent a nationwide class of Tom’s of Maine customers as well as any subclasses the court decides are necessary.
The plaintiffs are represented by C.K. Lee of the Lee Litigation Group, PLLC.
There is no attorney information available for the defendants at this time.
The Tom’s of Maine False Advertising Lawsuit is Falosha Martin et al. v. Colgate-Palmolive Company, Case No. cv-15-1214, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
UPDATE: Instructions on how to file a claim for the Tom’s of Maine class action settlement are now available! Click here or visit www.TomsProductsClassAction.com for details.
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