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August 21, 2012 / Brandon Brouillette

Class Action Alleges that Consumers Are Being Misled about the Health Benefits of “Splenda Essentials”

A class action was recently filed in the Northern District of California alleging that Johnson & Johnson Inc. engaged in deceptive practices in misrepresenting the health benefits of “,” various Splenda sweetener packets that contain B vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.

According to the complaint, Johnson & Johnson’s misrepresentations included misbranding their “product name the cues consumers to think the product is a necessity” and using “packaging that features foods that provide the health benefit touted in each variety.”  For example, the Splenda Essentials with Antioxidants packaging states “20% Daily Value of Antioxidants” and this language is displayed next to pictures of fruit.  The Plaintiffs allege they were led to believe that “packets of Splenda Essentials with Antioxidants would provide the same health benefits as antioxidants found in whole foods.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is representing the plaintiffs and issued a press release about the lawsuit which can be read here. According to CSPI, an online survey found that “up to 68 percent of 1,014 respondents formed incorrect perceptions of Splenda Essentials’ potential benefits after being exposed to packaging or advertisements for each of the products.”

The lawsuit seeks damages for violations of California consumer protection statutes, namely, the Unfair Competition Law (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17200 et seq.), the False Advertising Law (Cal. Bus & Prof. Code §17500 et seq.), the Consumer Legal Remedies Act (Cal. Civ. Code §1750 et seq.), unjust enrichment, and breach of implied warranty of merchantability.

If you feel you have been misled about the benefits or effectiveness of a product, contact the attorneys at Khorrami, LLP for more information and a free consultation regarding your possible legal claims.

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