Campbell’s Soup and American Heart Association Deny Plaintiffs’ Claims in Misleading Labeling Lawsuit — Our Chicago Consumer Lawyers Pursue Consumer Fraud Claims in Chicago and Throughout the United States


Most Americans are aware that what we eat has a large impact on our health, both short term and long term. Not least among these is the fact that diet plays a major role in heart disease. In order to ensure that they are making the best possible decisions at the grocery store, many Americans rely on information from the American Heart Association (AHA) in order to provide them with the necessary guidelines. To facilitate this, the AHA marks certain processed foods with a Heart Check mark in order to notify consumers that this particular food follows the guidelines as set out by the AHA.

However, according to the allegations in a recent lawsuit against the AHA and Campbell Soup Co., the Heart Check mark can be misleading. The lawsuit alleges that the AHA collects fees from “manufacturers of unhealthy, processed foods” in return for the manufacturer being granted the right to put the Heart Check mark on their products. However, according to the lawsuit, Campbell’s “Healthy Request” soups allegedly do not meet the AHA’s “non-commercial nutritional guidelines” most notably for sodium. Instead, the lawsuit alleges, the foods bearing the Heart Check mark meet the lower standards of the federal Food and Drug Administration. This could potentially cause problems for many consumers since high sodium consumption has long been association with high blood pressure and heart disease.

The lawsuit alleges that this practice is “unfair, deceptive and misleading” because it “causes consumers to overpay for Campbell’s AHA-certified soups, but also presents substantial health risks to all consumers, including the more than five million American consumers suffering from congestive heart failure”.

According to the lawsuit, Campbell Soup gets to charge customers more for its Healthy Request Products than it does for its other products, while the AHA collects between $5,200 and $17,500 per product each year. So the arrangement is of financial benefit to both Campbell Soup and the AHA while allegedly being detrimental to both the budget and the health of consumers.

The lawsuit alleges that a single serving of Campbell’s AHA-certified soups have “nearly three times the amount of sodium permitted by the AHA’s noncommercial nutritional guidelines, while a full can contains between six and seven times that amount.” Food manufacturers often play with their serving sizes in order to make their food fit nutritional guidelines. The AHA Heart Check mark has allegedly appeared on 97 different Campbell products ranging from soups to juices, breads, and sauces.

Carla Burigatto, Campbell’s director of external communications, has released a statement saying that “Campbell has complete confidence in the accuracy of our labels and our marketing communications and that they meet regulatory and other legal requirements”.

The American Heart Association has likewise denied the allegations of the lawsuit, saying that its “food certification program regularly conducts laboratory testing to verify that products earning the Heart Check mark meet our nutritional criteria”. They are careful to point out that these criteria “are more stringent that those of the Food and Drug Administration.” The AHA also insisted that the revenue from the Heart Check fees “is only sufficient for the program’s product testing, public information and program operating expenses.”

Our Chicago class action and consumer fraud lawyers have been bringing fraud and class action claims for many years. Our Chicago class action attorneys have brought class action cases involving mass consumer product defects, false advertising and failure to honor warranties similar to the claims in this case. We are looking for new class actions or individual consumer cases to pursue involving defective products and other consumer fraud claims. Contact us if you feel you have a claim at our toll free number 630-333-0333 or filling out an online contact form.

Our Chicago consumer rights private law firm handles individual and class action unfair debt collection and other consumer fraud cases that government agencies and public interest law firms such as the Illinois Attorney General may not pursue. Class action lawsuits our law firm has been involved in or spear-headed have led to substantial awards totaling over a million dollars to organizations including the National Association of Consumer Advocates, the National Consumer Law Center. Lubin Austermuehle is proud of our achievements in assisting national and local consumer rights organizations obtain the funds needed to ensure that consumers are protected and informed of their rights. By standing up to consumer fraud and consumer rip-offs, and in the right case filing consumer protection lawsuits and class-actions you too can help ensure that other consumers’ rights are protected from consumer rip-offs and unscrupulous or dishonest practices.

Our Skokie and Lincolnwood consumer lawyers provide assistance in fair debt collection, consumer fraud and consumer rights cases including in Illinois and throughout the country. You can look here to see a description of the some of the many individual and class-action consumer cases we have handled. You can contact one of our Illinois consumer protection lawyers who can assist in lemon law, unfair debt collection, wage claims, unpaid overtime and other consumer, consumer fraud or consumer class action cases by filling out the contact form at the side of this blog.

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