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April 1, 2019

Does Poland Spring Water Really Come From a Spring?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:05 am

Here we go again. A lawsuit, originally filed in 2017 (but recently amended) against Poland Spring maker Nestle has been given the green light to proceed by a federal court.

Poland Spring

Plaintiffs allege in a 325-page complaint that Poland Spring water is not “100% natural spring water” as the label claims because it doesn’t really come from a natural spring. Rather, they say, it is groundwater that comes from a series of man-made springs. They contend the original Poland Spring in Maine ran dry in the 1970s.

For its part, Nestle says that Poland Spring water comes from eight different springs in Maine that meet the FDA’s definition of “spring water.”

…water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth may be “spring water.” Spring water shall be collected only at the spring [with] a natural force causing the water to flow to the surface through a natural orifice. –FDA regulations

Their website seems to protesteth a little too much for an innocent company by providing detailed information about the source of their water, including a map.

The judge in the case wasn’t buying some of the company’s arguments. For example, lawyers for Nestle asserted with a straight face in a prior hearing that the result of a previous lawsuit about the true source of Poland Spring water put the current plaintiffs on notice that the company’s claims might be false (and thus they can’t now contend that they were duped). This argument ranks right up there with a standard legal defense used by company lawyers in false advertising cases — “No reasonable consumer would believe the outrageous claims made in our advertising.”

So, it will be up to a court to decide whether the billions of dollars consumers have spent for Poland Spring water over the years was based on a false premise.

Hat tip to TruthinAdvertising.org for the lawsuit link.




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give support For 24 years, Consumer World has served readers with the latest consumer news, money-saving tips, original stories, and independent investigations. But we no longer receive financial support from a corporate sponsor. So reluctantly, MrConsumer turns to you and humbly asks for your help to keep Mouse Print* and Consumer World available free. Your gift will be most appreciated.


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March 25, 2019

Cheez-it Cheats-it on Whole Grains

Filed under: Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:32 am

Snack foods don’t have a good reputation when it comes to healthfulness. So, it is no wonder that their manufacturers often try to come up with ways to make them seem healthier.

A few years back, Kellogg came up with a way to make Cheez-its appear to be a more healthy snack. They introduced “Whole Grain Cheez-its.”

Whole Grain Cheez-it

Some packages said “whole grain” others said “made with whole grains.” But the problem was in the fine print.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Listed first in the ingredients statement on the side of the box was plain old “enriched white flour.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest sued Kellogg back in 2016 for deceptive practices and false advertising.

The lower court said the box was not misleading. So, the plaintiffs decided to let the chips fall where they may and appealed the case. And the appeals court this year reversed the lower court and ruled:

“Whole Grain” and “Made with Whole Grain” statements are “misleading because they falsely imply that the grain content is entirely or at least predominantly whole grain, whereas in fact, the grain component consisting of enriched white flour substantially exceeds the whole grain portion.”

“…a reasonable consumer should not be expected to consult the Nutrition Facts panel on the side of the box to correct misleading information set forth in large bold type on the front of the box.” … “Plaintiffs plausibly allege that the Nutrition Facts panel and ingredients list on whole grain Cheez-Its—which reveals that enriched white flour is the predominant ingredient—contradict, rather than confirm, Defendant’s ‘whole grain’ representations on the front of the box.”

So the case is being sent back for a full trial.




Please Help Support Mouse Print*

give support For 24 years, Consumer World has served readers with the latest consumer news, money-saving tips, original stories, and independent investigations. But we no longer receive financial support from a corporate sponsor. So reluctantly, MrConsumer turns to you and humbly asks for your help to keep Mouse Print* and Consumer World available free. Your gift will be most appreciated.


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February 18, 2019

When It Comes to Yogurt, Size and Ingredients Matter

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:51 am

Have you read any good yogurt labels lately? You may be in for a surprise.

Here is the 6-oz. container of Yoplait Original strawberry banana yogurt:

Yoplait 6-oz

It is made with real strawberries and bananas, just as the front label depicts.

Thrifty shoppers, however, may find it more economical to buy the quart size container of Yoplait Original strawberry banana. But, they will get less than they bargained for.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Yoplait 32 oz

Checking the ingredients, all the real strawberries and bananas disappeared! While it does say “smooth style” on the front of the label, one might have reasonably assumed that they merely blenderized the fruit into the yogurt to create a uniform, smooth texture.

Nope. And the fine print of the front of the label doesn’t help much either. It says, “flavored with other natural flavor,” which might to the average shopper merely convey that other flavors are also mixed in.

Not to be outdone by this bit of yogurt trickery, once upon a time, Yoplait made a line of Yoplait Whips for the Girl Scouts evoking the flavors of some of their bestselling cookies.

Here is Yoplait’s Girl Scouts “peanut butter chocolate” Whips… but something is missing.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Yoplait peanut butter

According to the ingredients, there is no peanut butter in Yoplait’s peanut butter chocolate yogurt.

We asked General Mills, the maker of Yoplait, about the labeling of these two products. In particular, why different sizes of seemingly the same product did not have the same contents, and why they don’t more accurately describe the product on the front of the container. The company did not respond.

FDA regulations unfortunately allow manufacturers to play games with how product flavors are labeled, even to the point of permitting none of the depicted ingredient to actually be present in the product.

(i) If the food is one that is commonly expected to contain a characterizing food ingredient, e.g., strawberries in “strawberry shortcake”, and the food contains natural flavor derived from such ingredient and an amount of characterizing ingredient insufficient to independently characterize the food, or the food contains no such ingredient, the name of the characterizing flavor may be immediately preceded by the word “natural” and shall be immediately followed by the word “flavored” in letters not less than one-half the height of the letters in the name of the characterizing flavor, e.g., “natural strawberry flavored shortcake,” or “strawberry flavored shortcake”.

This is called consumer protection?




Please Help Support Mouse Print*

give support For 24 years, Consumer World has served readers with the latest consumer news, money-saving tips, original stories, and independent investigations. But we no longer receive financial support from a corporate sponsor. So reluctantly, MrConsumer turns to you and humbly asks for your help to keep Mouse Print* and Consumer World available free. Your gift will be most appreciated.


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February 11, 2019

Is Canada Dry Ginger Ale Made With “Real Ginger”?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:02 am

Multiple lawsuits recently alleged that Canada Dry ginger ale was not the real thing because it did not contain “real ginger” as the label proclaimed.

Canada dry

*MOUSE PRINT:

ingredients

The ingredients statement says that it contains “natural flavor” but tests done by the plaintiffs indicate that the soda did not contain key components one would normally find in ginger root. Further analysis concluded that it only contained two parts per million of ginger extract.

In the settlements agreed to last month, Canada Dry is still allowed to say “made with real ginger” but only if that statement is modified with words like “flavor” or “extract.”

Examples of permissible label claims: “real ginger taste,” “made with real ginger extract,” “real ginger flavor,” “flavor from real ginger extract,” and “natural ginger flavor.” The Permanent Injunction shall also include court-approved use of “ginger extract,” “natural ginger flavor extract,” “natural ginger extract,” “natural ginger flavor,” or “ginger flavor” in the label ingredient line.

Would you catch those nuances?

Consumers who purchased Canada Dry ginger ale are entitled to modest compensation. Without proof of purchase, you can get 40 cents a can/bottle, up to $5.40. With sales receipts, you can get reimbursed at the same rate for up to 100 units.

After the settlement becomes final, you can file a claim here.




Please Help Support Mouse Print*

give support For 24 years, Consumer World has served readers with the latest consumer news, money-saving tips, original stories, and independent investigations. But we no longer receive financial support from a corporate sponsor. So reluctantly, MrConsumer turns to you and humbly asks for your help to keep Mouse Print* and Consumer World available free. Your gift will be most appreciated.


• • •

November 19, 2018

Clorox Splashless Is Also “Disinfectless”

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 8:48 am

A Missouri consumer is fed up with Clorox brand bleach. She has been waging a three-year long campaign against one of the company’s most popular products that she thinks is being packaged and marketed in a deceptive way. We think she has a point.

There are two primary types of Clorox bleach:

Clorox bleaches

The one on the left is regular Clorox and the one on the right is their “splashless” version. Note how similar the labels are.

According to the company, they came out with a thicker splashless variety because customers complained about the regular type which could inadvertently splatter where it was not intended.

As it turns, that is not the only difference between the two products. Only on the back of the label does the company disclose the following about the splashless product:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Clorox Splashless disclaimer

That’s right, surprise, the splashless version does not disinfect or sanitize. And while certainly many use bleach merely to whiten their laundry others do expect it to sanitize also.

A check of the ingredients statements also reveals a surprise.

*MOUSE PRINT:

ingredients

While the exact amount of the disinfectant, sodium hypochlorite, is stated on the regular product, it is conspicuously missing on the splashless variety. One might reasonably conclude that there is not enough of the active ingredient in the splashless product to sanitize or disinfect properly.

We asked The Clorox Company why they don’t more conspicuously disclose that the splashless variety does not sanitize or disinfect and why the amount of the primary active ingredient is not disclosed. The company did not respond to our questions by publication time.




Please Help Support Mouse Print*

give support For 24 years, Consumer World has served readers with the latest consumer news, money-saving tips, original stories, and independent investigations. But we no longer receive financial support from a corporate sponsor. So reluctantly, MrConsumer turns to you and humbly asks for your help to keep Mouse Print* and Consumer World available free. Your gift will be most appreciated.


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