A consumer watchdog group and General Mills Inc. have settled a lawsuit over the packaged food giant's popular Fruit Roll-Ups product.
The settlement calls for Golden Valley-based General Mills to improve the labeling of its Strawberry Naturally Flavored Fruit Roll-Ups to reflect that they contain no actual strawberries, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
But those settlement terms covered just strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups, not myriad other flavors, or General Mills' Fruit by the Foot snacks.
A California woman filed the suit last fall with the aid of Washington D.C.-based CSPI, which tracks food labeling issues. It alleged that the marketing claim "made with real fruit" incorrectly describes the snacks' ingredients, which include pears from concentrate, rather than the type of fruit actually named on the products' packaging.
A federal judge in California rejected General Mills' attempt to toss the suit, writing that a "reasonable consumer" might make inaccurate assumptions about Fruit Roll-Ups' fruit content.
According to CSPI, General Mills agreed that so long as strawberry Fruit Roll-Ups -- a particularly strong seller -- contain no actual strawberries, the company would refrain from depicting the berry on the product's label.
Also, so long as that product's label contains the "made with real fruit claim," it will be required to also include the actual percentage of fruit in the product, according to CSPI.
In a statement, General Mills said "we disagree with CSPI on the merit and substance of the case, but we both agreed to resolve the matter to avoid further litigation."
Mike Hughlett • 612-673-7003