NEW YORK General Mills Inc was sued on Tuesday by a New York woman for allegedly misleading consumers about the nutritional and health qualities of its Fruit Roll-Ups and other fruit snacks popular with children.
According to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, General Mills failed to properly disclose that its fruit products, including Fruit Roll-Ups, Fruit by the Foot and Fruit Gushers, contain partially hydrogenated oil.
The complaint said use of the oil rendered "false and misleading" marketing over the last six years that General Mills fruit snacks were "nutritious" and "healthy to consume," and thus deserved premium prices.
The plaintiff is Payton McClure, who is described as a "life-long consumer" of General Mills products. The complaint seeks class-action status on behalf of purchasers of the fruit snacks, compensatory and punitive damages, and other remedies.
A General Mills spokeswoman declined to comment, since the company had not yet reviewed the complaint.
"To our knowledge, this suit has not been served," said General Mills spokeswoman Kirstie Foster.
Kim Richman, a lawyer for McClure, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
General Mills has dozens of food brands, including Cheerios, Green Giant, Haagen-Dazs, Pillsbury and Wheaties. Fruit snacks are distributed under its Betty Crocker brand.
General Mills shares closed down 50 cents at $36.90 on the New York Stock Exchange. The Minneapolis-based company is scheduled to report fiscal fourth-quarter results after U.S. markets close.
The case is McClure v. General Mills Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-05015.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; additional reporting by Martinne Geller; editing by Andre Grenon and Robert MacMillan)