Fruit Roll Ups Dangerous and Unhealthy?

Fruit Roll Ups, Fruit by the Foot and Fruit Gushers aren’t exactly marketed as health foods.  They do, however, claim to be “naturally flavored, low fat, and a good source of Vitamin C.”   But while all that may indeed be true, a woman in Brooklyn claims there is something General Mills, which owns Betty Crocker’s brand fruit snacks, isn’t telling us about their popular products:  They contain partially hydrogenated oil.

Payton McClure, who describes herself as a “lifelong consumer of General Mills products,” is suing the food maker over “false and misleading” marketing for claiming that their fruit snacks are “nutritious” and “healthy to consume.”  She has filed a complaint in Manhattan Federal Court seeking class-action status for her $5 million suit in which she claims the snacks are “dangerous” and “unhealthy.”

Partially hydrogenated oil has been banned in some countries due to trans fatty acids that have been linked to diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.  In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration requires all packaged foods to list trans fat content on their Nutrition Facts labels.  Well, almost all.  The rule includes this provision:  “If the serving contains less than 0.5 gram of trans fat, the content, when declared, shall be expressed as zero.”

And according to the food blog Eat, Drink and Be, that’s where General Mills gets off the hook.   Although these products may have trace amounts of partially hydrogenated oil, if the trans fat is under the 0.5 gram per serving limit, they don’t have to claim it.

A spokesperson for General Mills declined to comment, saying the company has not yet been served the lawsuit. But you can comment.  Were you under the impression that these fruit snacks were healthy?  Or, like me, have you always considered them to be more toy than food?

Image: plasticrevolver/Flickr

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