A class action lawsuit claims that Nerds, Laffy Taffy, Spree, Bottle Caps, Runts, and Gobstoppers are artificially flavored, despite being advertised as having “no artificial flavors.” Plaintiff Jake Gruber says that he is a long-time customer of the Ferrara Candy Company and has purchased the candies on multiple occasions based on marketing claims that they don’t contain artificial flavors. However, Gruber asserts that this labeling is false, because the candies contain dl-malic acid, an artificial flavor. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this with Scott Hardy, President of Top Class Actions.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Farron Cousins:                  One of the most popular trends with a lot of food manufacturers in this country, whether it’s, you know, vegetables, canned goods or even candy is to tell us that there’s no artificial flavors, no artificial ingredients, no preservatives, no nothing that is bad for you. This is all natural and as I mentioned, this also applies to candy. Candies like nerds and spree and runts and gobstoppers are all out there telling us they are made with all natural flavors. But unfortunately according to a new class action lawsuit, that might not be the case.

And I have Scott Hardy from Top Class Actions with me to tell us what’s happening. And Scott, I got to say this one, this one stings. These are some of my favorites here. I love nerds and I love spree, but I had no idea they were actually marketing these things as no artificial flavors. When, let’s be honest, anybody who’s eaten these things understand these are not flavors you’re going to actually find in nature, are they?

Scott Hardy:                          Right, exactly. You know, I, I felt the same way. I said, really, nerds are actually marketed as no artificial flavors? How is that possible? How are nerds not artificially flavored? That, that was really the shocking part to me. But you know, that’s the way they are. They’re marketed as no artificial flavors. And it looks like they might be trying to be sneaky about it because dl-malic acid is a natural flavor. And if they were just using that to help flavor these candies there, there wouldn’t be an issue.

But they use dl-malic acid, which is a petroleum based product and helps make these things, these candies tastes tart. Now I love nerds, my kids love nerds. I am a huge nerd myself, so I love this candy. But, I’m curious how Ferrara Candy who makes it will actually update their labels. And if they will do anything for all of us consumers who have purchased so many of their candies over the years to, to make things right, maybe we’ll get lucky and get some more nerds in our pockets.

Farron Cousins:                  You know, and it really drives me crazy when you see things like this, especially considering the fact that if somebody is out there buying nerds or spree or gobstoppers, we already understand that these products are basically 99% just sugar. Flavored sugar is in fact just what this is. We’re not buying them because we think there’s any kind of health benefit to it. We’re buying it because we want some sugar. You don’t have to do this. You don’t have to lie to us on the packaging. And that’s what drives me so crazy about some of these is that companies are just throwing these, oh yeah, no artificial flavor. Sure. Slap it on there.

They’re just doing it for the hell of it when it really, if you had it on there, it didn’t have it on there, probably not going to change the number of sales that you get for this product. It’s just almost like, well, may as well do it because it’s not going to hurt until of course you get hit with the lawsuit and then it hurts you a lot. I mean, being honest is never going to hurt you when you’re a company selling food to American citizens.

Scott Hardy:                          Right. You know, my kids aren’t looking at that box and going, oh, it doesn’t say no artificial flavors, daddy, don’t buy it for me. They’re just grabbing the box of nerds, shaking it in my face going, please, please, feed me daddy, and we buy it. I just wish that they wouldn’t have made this claim because, you know, as you said, there are, we’re passionate fans here and we can hope they make it right. They don’t need to lie to us for us to buy it.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. I, I would love to see, you know, a, a pretty good, you know, rapidly paced settlement on this. Hopefully the company understands like, listen, you’re right, we shouldn’t have put this on there. We’re gonna make it right. Because if that’s the case too, this is definitely, I’ll be the first person to sign up for this. I had two packs of nerds the other day actually watching the new Spiderman movie at the movie theater. I was so excited. I hadn’t had them for months. And now, you know, we, we’re sitting here talking about the fact that they’re, they’re a bunch of liars and again, kind of pulls at my heartstrings a little bit.

But, absolutely will be one of the people signing up for this. So thank you very much for telling us this, Scott. And for anybody who needs more information about any of the candies here that are the subject of class action lawsuits, follow the link in the description of this video. Head on over to topclassactions.com and of course, while you’re there, please make sure that you do sign up for their weekly newsletter. Scott Hardy, Top Class Actions. Thank you very much for talking with us.

Scott Hardy:                          You’re welcome. Thanks for your time, Farron.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced