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Clif Bar Hit With Deceptive Label Suit Over Added Sugar

April 23, 2018, 4:58 PM

Clif Bar & Co. deceives health-conscious consumers by touting its bars as healthy when they contain excessive amounts of added sugar, a new proposed class suit says.

The suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California joins other litigation against makers of other food and beverage products alleged to contain high amounts of sugar.

Excessive consumption of added sugar—above approximately 5 percent of daily caloric intake—is toxic to the human body and greatly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, liver disease, and other chronic ailments, the suit says.

Clif markets “Classic” bars and “Kid ZBars” with labels conveying a health and wellness message that belies the sugar content, the complaint alleges.

Some ZBar varieties contain as much as 12 grams of added sugar. This is 100 percent of the American Heart Association’s maximum recommended daily Intake of added sugars for children 4-8 years old and 48 percent for kids up to 18, the suit says.

And the company’s Classic bars contain between 17 and 22 grams of added sugar, the plaintiffs say. This means a single Classic Clif bar contains as much as 88 percent of the AHA’s recommended maximum daily amount for women, 58 percent for men, 183 percent for children 4-8 years old, and 88 percent for kids up to 18 years old, plaintiffs say.

Plaintiffs Ralph Milan, Sarah Aquino, and Elizabeth Arnold primarily seek label changes.

A representative from Clif Bar said the company would not comment on pending litigation.

However, company spokeswoman Keely Wachs told Bloomberg Law that sugar is “one of several carbohydrates that we include in our food because it provides immediate energy to the body to help activate moving muscles and the brain.”

She added that “sugar, whether it’s natural or added, can be an effective source of carbohydrates to provide immediate energy during activity.”

The Law Office of Paul K. Jospeh, P.C. and the Law Office of Jack Fitzgerald, P.C., represent the plaintiffs.

The case is Milan v. Clif Bar & Co., N.D. Cal., No. 18-2354, complaint 4/19/18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Julie A. Steinberg in Washington at jsteinberg@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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