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General Mills is being sued over Nature Valley’s “natural” labeling

Granola Bar
Photo: Stocksy/Marti Sans

Food manufacturers often throw around buzzy words like “organic” and “natural” to reel in consumers. (Ever notice how some food items are labeled as “gluten-free,” even when they wouldn’t have gluten in them anyway?) But the Food and Drug Administration and watchdog non-profits are doing their part to stop the trickery.

Food Dive reports that General Mills was recently sued by three nonprofit organizations for claiming that their Nature Valley granola bars are “natural”—there’s that word again. The fruit and nut bars contain glyphosate, a chemical commonly found in herbicides like Roundup.

General Mills says their labeling makes sense because the products are made with 100 percent natural whole grain oats.

The reason why the plaintiffs (Moms Across America, Beyond Pesticides, and Organic Consumers Association) are suing over glyphosate—besides the fact that it’s not cool to fool consumers—is that it’s been linked to causing cancer. (Although other studies say that’s not true.)

This isn’t the first time General Mills has been sued over a “natural” label—they settled another lawsuit in 2014. In this case, the plaintiffs are asking a jury to find that it is so deceptive that it’s a violation of law, requiring its removal from the market.

Considering this, plus the FDA’s renewed commitment to labeling transparency, maybe it’s time for food manufacturers to give this whole “natural” thing a rest?

How else are food and beverage manufacturers trying to trick you? By sneaking sugar into your favorite foods about sugar, of course. And if you want some snack bars that are truly safe, these eight are actually healthy—and have an unexpected savory taste.