(Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2017) – A national environmental health organization last Friday sued Mott’s, under consumer protection law, for false and misleading “natural” labeling of applesauce products containing a toxic pesticide. The suit argues that the finding of residues in the company’s applesauce of the neonicotinoid insecticide acetamiprid, which is particularly toxic to pollinators, disqualifies the products from being labeled “natural” or as containing “all natural ingredients.” The case is filed under the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act against Mott’s parent company, the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.
The plaintiffs maintain that by using “natural” or “all natural ingredients” labeling, Mott’s leads consumers to believe that its applesauce products do not contain synthetic substances. Plaintiffs claim that defendants know or should have known that many consumers buy foods labeled as “natural” in an attempt to “limit the amount of pesticides they and their families ingest” or eliminate the use of synthetic ingredients that adversely affect pollinators.
“People are looking for food products that are healthy for their family, children, and the environment, and deceptive “natural” labeling of products grown with pesticides undermines their best intentions,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides.
There are concerns in the scientific literature and European Food Safety Authority about the effect of acetamiprid on human health, particularly children. Scientists are concerned that acetamiprid affects nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) or cerebellar neurons, causing adverse effects to brain development. Children are at elevated risk from pesticide exposure due to developing organ systems and higher intake relative to body weight.
Beyond Pesticides is represented by the Richman Law Group.
All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.