WASHINGTON /PRNewswire/ — False advertising lawsuits are mounting against chemical sweetener manufacturer Johnson & Johnson/McNeil for claims made about its chlorinated artificial sweetener Splenda. Five separate lawsuits across the United States have been filed thus far, three State Consumer Class Action suits and two independent Federal suits.
The complaints focus on violations of the Federal Lanham Act and violations of Florida and California statutes, all of which are designed to protect consumers against misleading corporate statements. All complaints allege deceptive and/or misleading representations made by Johnson & Johnson/McNeil in advertisements and marketing terminology in order to attract customers to purchase and consume the artificial sweetener Splenda.
“The Sugar Association believes, as do the consumers who filed the State Class Action suits, that Johnson & Johnson is misinforming consumers about the reality of the chlorinated product Splenda,” remarked James Murphy, counsel for the Sugar Association, which filed one of the lawsuits. “We feel the public needs to be aware that Splenda is an artificial chemical sweetener. Splenda is created with chlorine, and the final product does not have sugar in it. People need accurate nutritional information to make good decisions on what they are feeding their families.”
In its advertisements and on its product packaging, Johnson & Johnson/McNeil claims that, “Splenda is made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar.” According to the suits, statements like this mislead consumers into thinking that Splenda is natural sugar without calories. In fact, Splenda is not natural and does not taste like sugar. The sweetness of Splenda derives from a chlorocarbon chemical that contains three atoms of chlorine in every one of its molecules.
The five lawsuits filed are:
State Consumer Class Action Cases
1. Peggy Patton, On Behalf of Herself and All Others Similarly Situated
vs. McNeil Nutritionals LLC filed in Santa Clara County, California on
Dec. 6, 2004
2. Marc Backer, On Behalf of Himself and All Others Similarly Situated
vs. McNeil Nutritionals LLC filed in Los Angeles Country, California
on Dec. 21, 2004
3. Bobby Allen Green, On Behalf of Himself and All Others Similarly
Situated vs. McNeil Nutritionals LLC filed in Duval County, Florida on
Dec. 2, 2004
4. Merisant vs. McNeil Nutritionals LLC filed in Philadelphia on
Nov. 26, 2004
5. The Sugar Association vs. McNeil Nutritionals LLC filed in Los Angeles
on Dec. 10, 2004
For more information about the lawsuits filed against Johnson & Johnson/McNeil in relation to Splenda, or for information about the Truth About Splenda campaign ( http://www.truthaboutsplenda.com/ ), please call Rich Masters at Qorvis Communications, 202-496-1000.
CONTACT: Matt J. Lauer or Rich Masters, +1-202-496-1000, for The Sugar
Web site: http://www.truthaboutsplenda.com/