A month after General Mills recalled 1.8 million boxes of supposedly gluten-free Cheerios because they contained wheat, customers who bought the cereal are taking the company to court.
Last Friday, two California shoppers filed a proposed class action suit against General Mills and the manufacturing manager at the plant that accidentally introduced wheat-containing flour into gluten-free Cheerios.
The complaint alleges the company sold a misbranded product, resulting in customers purchasing items they otherwise would have avoided, as well as putting them at risk for potential health consequences from inadvertently consuming gluten.
While the complaint mentions customers with gluten sensitivities, the suit seeks to represent all consumers who purchased the mislabeled boxes — not just those who became ill after consuming the cereal.
The plaintiffs want General Mills to claim responsibility for notifying consumers about the “true nature of the ‘Gluten Free’ Cheerios,” to avoid further deceptive labelling, and to surrender profits made from selling the improperly-labelled cereal. They additionally wish to be compensated for the price of their purchases, in addition to an undecided amount for penalties and damages.
We reached out to the company and will update when we hear back.
In early October, General Mills announced it would voluntarily recall boxes of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios produced at a Lodi, California facility in July. According to the company, due to confusion at the plant, wheat flour was inadvertently introduced into the gluten-free oat flour system, tainting cereal produced at the location.
“We sincerely apologise to the gluten-free community and to anyone who may have been impacted,” General Mills senior vice president Jim Murphy wrote in a blog post about the mishap. “We care deeply about making safe, nutritious, gluten free products more widely available, and we’ve worked very hard to ensure our products are gluten free.”
The gluten-free Cheerio is a relatively recent invention for General Mills. Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios, as well as Multi-Grain, Apple Cinnamon and Frosted Cheerios, became officially gluten-free in July.
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