Annie’s ‘Natural’ Labeling Lawsuit!

samantha severyn

A class Action Lawsuit was given to Annie’s Homegrown Inc. and General Mills Inc. Monday August 28th in a California federal Court over claims that their salad dressings ‘Natural’ labeling is deceptive. According to the lawsuit, California State Laws have been violated by Annie’s by negligently misrepresenting their salad dressings as ‘natural’ even though they contain a synthetic ingredient: xanthan gum.

Xanthan gum is produced on a commercial scale utilizing bacterium Xanthomonas campestris in the fermentation process and then harvesting via precipitation with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). This substance is unequivocally identified by the USDA in 7 CFR 205.605(b) as a synthetic substance, but was approved for use in organic products. This gum is used as a thickener, stabilizer, and emulsifier.

The FDA has stated in their 1991 Guidance that natural means “nothing artificial or synthetic... is included in, or has been added to, the product that would not normally be expected to be there”. The FDA also noted in 2015 in its calls for comments, that it did not consider production methods when it came up with the guidance in 1991. 

General Mills has yet to respond to the lawsuit however in a similar lawsuit in May 2017 they argued that the ingredient has been approved for use in products labeled as ‘organic’ and therefore they are not violating any laws.


As a consumer, how do you feel about a synthetic ingredient being present in a product that was labeled as ‘natural’ or ‘organic’?

Contact Pirl today at Info@MypIrl.com and tell us what you think!