Pepsi's popular Naked Juice line has been forced to strip the words "all natural" from its labels after a class-action lawsuit determined the claim was misleading and false.
Naked Juice Co. agreed to pay $9 million to settle the suit, which was brought by a group of consumers who alleged the juices and smoothies could not be called natural and GMO-free. Under the terms of the settlement, Naked Juice can continue to deny that they misled the public, but they are changing the labels nonetheless.
The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleged that Naked Juice couldn't call their products all natural because they contained Archer Daniels Midland's Fibersol-2 ("a soluble corn fiber that acts as a low-calorie bulking agent"), fructooligosaccharides (an alternative sweetener), and genetically modified soy.
Naked Juice laid the blame for the labeling confusion at the feet of the Feds, saying there's not enough "guidance" as to what can be called "natural."
"[U]ntil there is more detailed regulatory guidance around the word 'natural,' we've chosen not to use 'all natural' to describe our juices and smoothies," the company told BeverageDaily.com.
And to the layperson, Naked Juice could be right.
According to the FDA website:
"From a food science perspective, it is difficult to define a food product that is 'natural' because the food has probably been processed and is no longer the product of the earth. That said, FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances."