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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    General Mills Sued Again, This Time for Misleading Labels on Gluten-free Cheerios

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 02/02/2016 - General Mills seems to be having a hard time catching a break lately, especially when it comes to their new gluten-free options.

    Photo: CC--JamieAfter some minor good news that their new gluten-free versions of Cheerios breakfast cereal was driving a small increase in an otherwise falling cereal market, the company has found itself on the receiving end of several lawsuits.

    In the latest lawsuit, a Kentucky woman is suing the cereal producer over what she claims are misleading labels on their gluten-free products, including gluten-free Cheerios.

    In her class-action lawsuit filed Dec. 18 in the Eastern District of California, Jacklyn Haddix, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, alleges that General Mills, General Mills Sales, General Mills Operations, and Does 1-50, engaged in "unjust enrichment, breach of express warranty, negligence and violations of Kentucky and California consumer protection laws."

    The suit states that after General Mills began to advertise and distribute its gluten-free Cheerios products throughout the U.S., in September, the Food and Drug Administration received consumer reports of adverse reactions from people who had eaten gluten free-labeled Cheerios.

    On Oct. 5, after FDA tests of 36 Cheerios samples that certain samples contained gluten levels well above the mandated limit for products labeled gluten-free.

    General Mills subsequently recalled 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios. Two days later, the company revealed finished product testing had not been performed on the recalled Cheerios, according to the suit.

    Haddix and others in the suit seek "compensatory, exemplary, punitive, and statutory damages, plus return of purchase prices, interests, reimbursement, disgorgement, and attorney fees and costs" exceeding $5 million.

    Stay tuned for more developments on this and other gluten-free product lawsuits.

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    As I've stated for other post ... Go certified only! I don't know how you can sue when it states on the box it is gluten removed. Not worth eating! No wonder they support the celiac foundation, the are ruining your villi one grain at a time.

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    I think it is not a good idea to sue the company for a little mistake . It is discouraging for the company and its staff to produce more gluten free products . Celiac people would suffer because of limited products available in the market, but the lady would enjoy winning $5 million and would buy new luxury item and travel free by catching a little mistake . Just it is my personal opinion. Thanks

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    As I've stated for other post ... Go certified only! I don't know how you can sue when it states on the box it is gluten removed. Not worth eating! No wonder they support the celiac foundation, the are ruining your villi one grain at a time.

    I agree Tara, not worth the risk to me either.

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    Beginning the article with "General Mills seems to be having a hard time catching a break lately, especially when it comes to their new gluten-free options." is a biased position. If you want to be seen as reporting the facts, please do not use leading language like this, especially when it reveals your commitment is not to celiac patients but to Cheerios.

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    This lawsuit is not about any ones health, its about attorneys preying upon industry trying to offer choices.. The only ones to benefit from this will be the lawyers and it may harm efforts to encourage more such gluten free products in the future. I am disgusted.

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    I think it is not a good idea to sue the company for a little mistake . It is discouraging for the company and its staff to produce more gluten free products . Celiac people would suffer because of limited products available in the market, but the lady would enjoy winning $5 million and would buy new luxury item and travel free by catching a little mistake . Just it is my personal opinion. Thanks

    I agree with amir. These company's are willing to provide gluten free products and then come along people who are willing to destroy these company's for nothing but greed.

    So all of us must suffer as many other company's will be watching this issue of General Mills and decide whether they themselves will continue gluten free food products.

    Those who want to sue need to stop thinking this is a perfect world where no one makes mistakes.

    Cut me a physical break! We all know that getting the big bucks from General Mills is what's behind all this. I urge others to contact General Mills to continue to provide gluten free foods.

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    we should not sue. If we sue, we won't have gluten free products available. We are lucky to have the product availability and prices that we have now. please don't ruin this for us.

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    The point is, you thought they were providing gluten free products, but they weren't. Their testing wasn't accurate in any way, and the product that was presented as gluten free was actually adversely affecting your health. This was not a mistake, it was negligence in the part of a company that thought they would get more of your money before their deceit was discovered. Saying "we should be grateful" is undervaluing yourself and your health--if we buy these products, we deserve to receive actual gluten free food!

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    Gluten has serious impact beyond the obvious gastrointestinal symptoms. If I get gluten, it's 3 weeks of brain fog and sometimes depression. I have passed out before due to the extreme reaction to gluten in something that was supposed to be gluten free. I know others with worse reaction.

     

    Just because all you get is a tummy ache, don't be so quick to relieve a manufacturer from liability when they failed to keep a product gluten free in manufacturing, then failed to test it, then shipped and sold their product as gluten free.

     

    "Lucky" to have their product? Seriously? They tried to exploit a gluten free market without taking the proper steps every other manufacturer takes to protect us. They put us at risk for shortcuts. I don't trust them and I WON'T buy their product.

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    I think it is not a good idea to sue the company for a little mistake . It is discouraging for the company and its staff to produce more gluten free products . Celiac people would suffer because of limited products available in the market, but the lady would enjoy winning $5 million and would buy new luxury item and travel free by catching a little mistake . Just it is my personal opinion. Thanks

    Well said. People who jump at a chance to sue over that make me more sick than ingesting gluten and I have been a diagnosed celiac for 18 years

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    The point is, you thought they were providing gluten free products, but they weren't. Their testing wasn't accurate in any way, and the product that was presented as gluten free was actually adversely affecting your health. This was not a mistake, it was negligence in the part of a company that thought they would get more of your money before their deceit was discovered. Saying "we should be grateful" is undervaluing yourself and your health--if we buy these products, we deserve to receive actual gluten free food!

    Have you never accidentally eaten gluten but probably your own fault now you can jump because you can make a quick buck?

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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