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Have You Been Deceived by Information on a Food Item's Package?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has sent a Warning Letter to Spectrum Organic Products, Inc., for reportedly printing misleading information for consumers on the label of its product Organic All Vegetable Shortening. This type of misleading information is considered a form of consumer fraud.

The levels of saturated and total fat in the product are higher than FDA standards and the product labels should have a disclosure statement warning consumers about this fact. According to the FDA, the product also has misleading information regarding its shortening being:

  • "cholesterol free,"
  • having "less saturated fat than butter"
  • and being a "good source of . . . monounsaturated fat"

The FDA said Spectrum misused the terms "cholesterol free" and "naturally cholesterol free" on its label, because the content of the product is higher than FDA standards and therefore doesn't comply with agency criteria for making these claims.

FDA Warns 17 Companies of Mislabeled Food Products

The FDA on Feb. 22, 2010, sent overnight Warning Letters to 17 manufacturers of food products for violating standards set by the agency. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that products not contain misleading information and carry labels that are truthful.

The companies were given 15 days to reply and tell the FDA how they intended to remedy the misleading information on their products.

May Propose Nutrition Guidelines

Today's problems of overweight and diet-related diseases make accurate food labeling and avoidance of consumer fraud especially important, according to Commissioner of Food and Drugs Margaret Hamburg, M.D. The FDA is planning to propose industry guidelines for putting nutrition labeling on the front of food packages to enable consumers to make healthy choices more easily.

About Spectrum Organic Products, Inc.

Spectrum Organic Products, Inc., is headquartered in Petaluma, California. It prides itself on using natural products including olives, fish, seeds, and soybeans to make:

  • cooking oil
  • shortening
  • margarine
  • mayonnaise
  • vinegar
  • flaxseed oil

The company has two main divisions producing products for the public, Spectrum Naturals ® and Spectrum Essentials ®. The Naturals division produces a line of cooking oils and vinegars. It's Essentials products include a variety of flax seed oils in liquid and capsule form, fish oils, vegetarian products derived from algae for pregnant women, and organic virgin coconut oil. A third division, under its brand name Spectrum Ingredients, makes industrial ingredients for other manufacturers.

The company was founded in 1980 by Jethren Phillips, to bring nutrition and quality into the vegetable oil market, according to company literature. It is a public company and has 59 employees. Hain Celestial acquired Spectrum in 2005.

Talk to a Consumer Fraud Lawyer

If you feel you have been harmed or deceived by the information on the label of any food product, you may want to contact a Consumer Fraud Lawyer. Our lawyers specialize in protecting the consumer and would be pleased to talk with you about your situation.