Kellogg Class Action Proposed Settlement
As previously described in this blog, a class action lawsuit filed in 2016 and certified for three consumer classes in 2018 alleges that statements such as “heart healthy” and “lightly sweetened” on various Kellogg grains are false and misleading because the cereals contain 18 to 40 percent Added sugar. While results in other court cases involving nutritional breakfast cereal claims, as discussed here, have been mixed up, the Kellogg class action appeared to be moving towards settlement if litigants could agree on terms acceptable to the court.
On March 10, 2021, plaintiffs asked the court to approve a revised settlement that they say addresses numerous concerns, including high administrative fees, too broad a group of consumers, and provisions that would allow Kellogg to reclaim millions, if consumers do not act immediately. If approved, the revised settlement would create a $ 13 million fund to pay approximately $ 16.09 each to an estimated 16 million households who purchased the covered products between 2012 and May 1, 2020 , as well as set up administration fees. Any unclaimed monies would go to an additional distribution to consumers or to the American Heart Association and UCLA Resnick Center for Food Law and Policy, which were also named cypres beneficiaries in a pre-approved $ 15 million settlement for similar claims with muesli after breakfast. The revised comparison would also require Kellogg not to use claims such as “heart healthy”, which appears on various raisin bran and Smart Start grains, and “lightly sweetened”, which appears on Frosted Mini Wheat varieties, for at least a year Grain.
Nutritional claims that might suggest the product is healthy seem risky for foods with added sugars, based on the mixed results in recent litigation and the uncertainty about when and how the FDA will respond to a public petition (discussed here) , which calls for a regulation setting disqualifying amounts of added sugar that would prohibit the use of a “healthy” claim.
© 2021 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 74