A federal judge in California issued a ruling on June 21, 2013 preliminarily
approving a settlement in a case brought against Barbara's Bakery.
The plaintiffs in the case found the company, which produces cereals and
other snack products, to have violated consumer protection laws. Namely,
Richard Trammell claimed that the company violated California's unfair
competition law, is false advertising law, and the state's Consumer
Legal Remedies Act. The labels on Barbara's Bakery products claimed
that they were "all natural" when in fact they contained genetically
modified organisms, or GMOs. The company benefitted from the growing importance
consumers have placed on natural products in recent years. Its products
are sold in health food stores across the America and consumers purchased
the products believing that they were indeed "all natural."
Under the class definition in the proposed settlement, class members include consumers nationwide who purchased Barbara's products at any time since May 23, 2008. Each consumer is eligible to receive up to $100 from the $4 million settlement fund. No receipts will be required in order to recover that money. The more than 40 products included in the settlement include the popular Puffins, Snackimals, and Ultima Organic cereals, as well as multigrain cereal bars, cookies, crackers, and many flavors of snack mixes.
In addition to the settlement fund, Barbara's Bakery is being required
to change its labeling, which is expected to be completed by August of
this year. They will have to remove the labels "all natural,"
"no artificial additives," "no artificial preservatives,"
and "no artificial flavors," from any products that contain
GMOs or artificial ingredients. The company is also being required to
eliminate all GMOs from its products, a process it has commenced. The
products will now be verified as GMO-free by a third-party verification
system, namely The non-GMO Project, which is the largest third-party verification
system for GMOs in the United States. To date the company has removed
GMOs from 31 of 35 products it has on shelves in grocery stores across
Richard Trammell v. Barbara's Bakery Inc., et al., No. 12-2664, N.D. Cal.