Trader Joe’s sued for misleading labeling on sunflower seeds

Posted on: May 22nd, 2014 by Steve Larson

Tader Joe'sA class action was filed against Trader Joe’s Co. in Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles, for allegedly misleading consumers with sunflower seed product labels that failed to disclose high sodium content.

The complaint accuses Trader Joe’s of marketing its sunflower seeds as a healthy snack, but the sodium content reported on the product label only includes the sodium content of the kernels, excluding the salty shells that many customers may also consume.  The total sodium content, including the salt on the shells, is approximately four times higher than the amount on the product label, according to the lawsuit.

“A consumer eating a single serving of defendant’s sunflower seeds would consume 2,353 milligrams of sodium — nearly seven times as much sodium as the large orders of McDonald’s French fries and more than the total amount of sodium recommended per day,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit seeks to establish a nationwide class of consumers and to compel Trader Joe’s to correct the labels, run a curative marketing campaign, cover legal fees and issue product refunds.  “[C]onsumers need, and food manufacturers are legally required to provide, unambiguous nutrition facts that clearly and accurately disclose the sodium content of both the sunflower shells and the sunflower kernels,” the lawsuit pleads.