Trader Joe’s slammed with Lawsuit for Hidden Sugars in Packaged Foods

By on April 3, 2013

Trader Joe’s slammed with lawsuit for hidden sugars in packaged foods.

Trader Joe’s joins the infamous company of Chobani Yogurt and Whole Foods, as a company accused of hiding sugars under monikers including “evaporated cane juice”. These and other companies are being sued in an effort much like the one used against the tobacco companies in the sixties.

Monday, April 1, 2013, a class action lawsuit was brought against Trader Joe’s by the San Jose, California law firm, Pratt and Associates for misrepresentation of products with false health claims and obfuscation of the facts in calling “sugar” by various names including evaporated cane juice.

An attorney at Pratt and Associates, Pierce Gore, says the problem is widespread. “The labeling on packaged food is just a sea of lies,” he said. “It’s difficult to describe the breadth of the problem. American consumers are being systematically lied to about the foods they eat.”

Trader Joe's sued for product misrepresentation

Trader Joe’s sued for product misrepresentation

In my experience, Trader Joe’s has been considered one of the “good guys” by consumers including both of my children who are ardent TJ’s customers and find their packaged foods to be handy snacks for hungry kids after school as well as the basis for quick dinners that tired parents can make after a long hard day at the office.

Just out of curiosity, I closely read the label yesterday on a box of lobster cakes in my daughter’s refrigerator that was branded Trader Joe’s.  Much to my dismay, I discovered in the long list of ingredients not one but two kinds of sugars listed:  evaporated cane juice as well as another hidden name that translates to sugar.

Now would you tell me why on earth one would need to add sugar to naturally sweet lobster?  It’s all a part of the big scheme to get people to eat more and more.

In the trade, such food additives are known as “excito-toxins” because they are known to turn off the satiety switch.  For the same reason dad will sit down to watch the ball game and eat a whole package of Cheetos (try reading the label on those puppies), my grandchildren are wolfing down Lobster cakes after school.

And their parents believe they are providing more nutritious snacks than so-called snack foods.

Or so it would seem.  The Trader Joe’s pr machine has done a good job convincing people their brand is not only convenient but also healthy.  Perhaps not so much.  Vigilance is required in all markets, even the vaunted TJ’s.

Not only does this amount to a simple deception of the consumer,  it also can lead to long term health issues that can ultimately result in type 2 diabetes, hormonal disruptions, and a host of other health problems.

In this lawsuit and the 32 other similar lawsuits filed by the Pratt and Associates Law Firm, a stand is being mounted that bears a striking resemblance to the efforts mounted to defeat tobacco interests in the sixties.

As we like to say around here, everybody eats every day if they’re lucky.  We say bravo to Mr. Gore and his associates at Pratt and Associates.  It’s gonna be a long fight to defeat big ag and big foods, but we can do it.  Then, we’ll know that everybody might eat real food every day.  What a concept.

How to do this in your real life?  Stay away from packaged foods.  Don’t buy anything with a list of ingredients you can’t understand.  Long, complex lists of ingredients are bound to include hidden sugars, chemicals and other hormone disruptors.

Shop the edges of the markets.  Buy whole, natural foods that haven’t been processed much at all. If it comes in a box or a package, beware.

read more on this topic:

See Chobani Greek Yogurt Class Action Lawsuit

See Whole Foods Class Action Lawsuit

Deceptiving labelling in th e supermarket

How to read the nutrition “facts” panel on foods

Who enforces labelling laws in the US?




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About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”