Target has been a bit busy this year fighting battles in court about deceptive labeling of their raisins. So should you be purchasing a brand of raisins from Target that has been accused of deceptive marketing practices? Well, you may want to hear these details before you decide. You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like best & worst salmon brands, best & worst collagen, & best & worst cookware, now join us for a look at the Target deceptive labeling lawsuit.
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Target Sued for Deceptive Labeling of Toxic Raisins
GMO-Free USA, a non-profit formed in 2012, filed a lawsuit against Target Corporation in Minneapolis for deceptive marketing practices.
According to the lawsuit, the “Good & Gather” raisin product contains residues of several synthetic insecticides & fungicides, with some of them being neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides that is linked with the colony collapse disorder of the honeybees. Here’s what they found:
- Ben-Carb-TPN (Sum)–fungicide
- Clothianidin–neonicotinoid insecticide
- Imidacloprid–neonicotinoid insecticide
- Spirotetramat (SP)–pro insecticide
- Thiamethoxam (Sum)–neonicotinoid insecticide
Because Target claims and prominently labels their product as “all-natural” and are also positioning themselves in the market as a brand that is safe for children, GMO-Free USA is bringing an unlawful trade practice case on behalf of itself and the general public seeking an injunction to stop Target’s deceptive marketing.
Reasonable Consumers Understand Natural Foods to Be Free From Pesticides
In 2012, Consumer Reports National Research Center polled 1,000 people about their shopping habits and what they expected from terms used in food labeling. According to Consumer Reports, consumers understand the word “natural” to mean…well natural. Here’s the details:
- 66% of average Americans understand the word “natural” to mean that you are eating food that doesn’t contain pesticide residue.
- About two-thirds of respondents felt that it also means a processed food has no artificial ingredients, pesticides, or genetically modified organisms.
- Over 80% of respondents felt that the term natural should mean free from artificial ingredients, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms.
The Claim of “Natural” Doesn’t Mean Products Are Free From Synthetic Pesticides
When you see the term “natural” on products, it doesn’t really mean anything, so you can’t officially count on it as a term. Officially, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t developed a formal definition. However, they state that manufacturers can use “natural” if nothing artificial or synthetic has been added to the food, yet those same synthetic ingredients are found in many “natural” products so there’s some discrepancy with how the term is actually used in marketing.
“Our findings show consumers expect much more from the ‘natural’ food label,” says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., executive director of the Food Safety and Sustainability Center at Consumer Reports. “It’s misleading, confusing, and deceptive.”
What Does Mamavation Recommend?
It’s probably safe to say that most raisins that are not produced organically are going to contain some type of pesticide residue. In fact, the Environmental Working Group found that raisins are the dirtiest of all the produce in 2020. Therefore, when it comes to raisins, go organic!
Here are alternative some of the organic brands you can find online easily:
- Sun-Maid Organic Raisins
- 365 Everyday Value Organic Raisins
- Food to Live Organic Turkish Raisins
- MiNU Organic Sultana Golden Raisins
- Sincerely Nuts Organic Raisins
- Sunview Organic Red Seedless Raisins
- Terrasoul Organic White Sun-Dried Mulberries
- Braga Organic Farms Seedless Raisins
- Made in Nature Unsulfured Vegan Organic Raisins
- Yupik Organic Sultana Raisins
- Woodstock Organic Thompson Raisins
- Viva Natural Organic Goji Berries
- Navitas Organic Goldenberries Unsulfured Raisins
@allens I have never met a mother who wanted to buy a product containing pesticides, fungicides, etc. to feed to her child. As a family who eats completely organic for just that reason, I find it frustrating that packages are labeled with deceptive circles that emulate the organic label, and that companies sell their products as “all natural” when they are anything but. I would never say that consumers are “uneducated” – some have learned more about what goes on in farming (and the shocking practices that are commonplace and permitted.) If a product is labeled by the seller as “all natural,” you can be pretty sure that the consumer’s expectation is that that means the food has not been chemically treated. I think food labels should actually contain pesticide content as well, actually. But, since they don’t, using the term “all natural” for products that have been treated with synthetic pesticides and fungicides IS misleading. The company does not have to put such terminology on the package. This is simple deception. If their products are not “clean,” then maybe they shouldn’t imply that they are.
Yes, this IS deception. Pure and simple.
Thank you Leah for this important information! I am going to buy organic raisins from now on.