Sprouted Grain Lawsuit May Set Labeling Precedent
Are sprouted grains healthier than non-sprouted grains? Food for Life, maker of sprouted grain breads and cereals, has been claiming so on their packaging for years. But in a new lawsuit, a New York plaintiff is claiming that the health claims on their Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain cereal are misleading.
Food for Life highlights the sprouted quality of its grains on their boxes. They also make health comparisons between sprouted and non-sprouted grains, claiming that sprouted grains have greater “nutrient bioavailability” and that they are a “living food.” The plaintiff claims that these assertions are misleading. After the grains are heated and processed, the plaintiff claims, “any nutritional benefits which may have existed have been extinguished.”
Setting a precedent
As Food Navigator points out, this lawsuit will be the first judgement on the nutritional properties of sprouted grains. Makers of grain products will be watching carefully to see how this might impact their labeling. Judges could require Food for Life to tone down their sprouted grain packaging, in order to avoid any fraudulent claims. That wouldn’t be a particularly lucrative case for the plaintiff, but would have impact for the larger food manufacturing community.
Being sued for any reason is every maker’s nightmare. Luckily, it’s relatively simple to avoid labeling infractions. Don’t make any claims that aren’t supported by science! Making nutritional claims about your product may be great for sales, but it isn’t worth the legal trouble or the bad PR. We live in a world of nutritional gray area, with manufacturers using ingredients like chia or collagen, whose effects have largely not been proven. Don’t get caught up in the hype! Consumers may think an ingredient is healthy, but unless a claim is proven scientifically, you’re at legal risk.