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Deceptive Advertising Lawsuit Targets Use of Malic Acid


  •  On September 4, 2022, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Conagra for allegedly deceptively advertising its “Chile Lemon Flavor Sunflower Seeds” by failing disclose that the product was artificially flavored with DL-malic acid.
  • The complaint alleged that although the product contained aged chili peppers and lime juice solids (sources of natural flavor), malic acid is a “core component of chili pepper and lime,” and therefore also imparts flavor on the product. And, since the (DL) malic acid in question was synthetically produced (L-malic acid is the only form present in natural sources), Plaintiff argued that the product should disclose that an artificial flavor is present (e.g., Artificially Flavored Sunflower Seeds). Plaintiff also argued that, even if the malic acid acted as a flavor enhancer (which reinforces a flavor but does not impart its own flavor), the flavor statement should be “Chile Lemon Flavored” to indicate that the product does not contain “an amount of its characterizing ingredients sufficient to independently characterize it.”
  • We have previously reported on similar lawsuits, many of which have been filed by Spencer Sheehan, Plaintiff’s attorney in this case. We will continue to monitor and report on these and other similar flavor cases.


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