An Illinois consumer has filed a lawsuit against Kraft Heinz Company, the maker of Capri Sun juice drink. The lawsuit claims the Big Food manufacturer falsely advertises its Capri Sun Strawberry Kiwi juice drink as containing “all natural ingredients” when in fact, the product contains toxic “forever chemical” PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances)*.
The packaging for Capri Sun juice drink does not state that the product contains PFAS chemicals in the ingredients list or anywhere on the packaging. The plaintiff argues that the company “knows that consumers have a distinct preference for products that are natural and are willing to prioritize purchasing natural products over products made with synthetic ingredients. The lawsuit further argues that the food manufacturer’s false messaging misleads consumers into purchasing the product believing the product contains “all natural” ingredients. Kraft allegedly includes the all-natural claims not only on the product itself, but also on its website and in other messaging.” (source)
The plaintiff in the lawsuit had the Capri Sun Strawberry Kiwi juice drink tested by an independent laboratory. The PFAS most likely leaches into the drink from the packaging the liquid is in, though the chemical may also come from somewhere along the processing chain. It is also likely that if one flavor of juice drink processed by this manufacturer contains PFAS, other flavors do as well.
The fact that many foods in the U.S. are packaged in containers that contain PFAS chemicals has been scientifically established**. Following a recent lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency has begun gathering data on the presence of PFAS in foods/food containers.
As many processed food products in the U.S. may contain the toxic PFAS chemical either from the packaging or from the processing, this may be the beginning of a long string of lawsuits to follow.
* PFAS chemicals (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are toxic to humans, animals and the environment. They are comprised of approximately 12,000 compounds. PFAS chemicals have been mass produced since the 1950s, and used in products such as firefighting foams, nonstick pans and personal care items. They are now ubiquitous in the U.S., appearing in many consumer and industrial products including household products (like carpeting, curtains, furniture upholstery, waterproof and stain-resistant flooring, etc.), cooking supplies (including cooking utensils and bake ware), clothing, personal care products (like cosmetics, including waterproof mascara) and even food (PFAS appears in processed food packaging for humans and pets) and public drinking water (tap water) that affects an estimated 2 million Americans. PFAS chemicals are usually found in products labeled “stain-proof” and “waterproof”. PFAS chemicals also appear in fire-fighting foam and other industrial products used at airports and military bases across the country, where the chemicals have leached into the groundwater. PFAS chemicals are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not readily break down in the environment or human body. PFAS chemicals have been linked in scientific and medical studies to a variety of serious health conditions including cancer (including testicular cancers), kidney disease, heart disease, thyroid problems, reproductive problems and liver problems. Some newer PFAS have been found to accumulate in organs, and in some cases, science simply cannot detect them in blood. PFAS chemicals have been detected in the blood of more than 98% of Americans.
** Many foods in the U.S. are packaged in containers that contain PFAS chemical: