October 19/Minneapolis/DailyMarkets -- General Mills Inc. has been indicted of making false claims in its fruit snacks. Contrary to the company’s assertions of using nutritional fruits in its fruit snacks, these are allegedly nothing more than candies, the suit alleges.

The food warden Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed the class action suit at the U.S. District Court in the northern district of California against the retail giant. The watchdog claims that General Mills is giving its customers a false impression that these products are more wholesome, and are hence selling them at a premium.

The authority further alleges that the labeling on the packages for Fruit Roll-Ups, Fruit by the Foot, and Fruit Gushers specifically contain messages like “fruit flavored snack,” “naturally flavored,” a “good source of Vitamin C,” “a low number of calories,” “low fat” and “gluten free” which mislead parents and imply that the food is a lot healthier than it really is.

Washington D.C.-based CSPI contends the fruit products are mostly sugars, artificial additives and potentially harmful artificial dyes. Moreover, the snacks are suspected to contain trans fat, while also lacking real, natural fruit or any dietary fiber.

The suit follows a similar plea against the company last year by Brooklyn woman who charged General Mills $5 million for misleading consumers about the health and nutrition qualities of Fruit Roll-Ups. The case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the southern district of New York, was voluntarily taken back a month later by the petitioner.

The recent legal action comes close on the heels of Minneapolis-based General Mills’ announcement that it has improved the nutritional quality of 25% of products that it sells in the United States. Since 2005, General Mills has been striving to improve the nutrition profile of more than 600 different products in the United States.

 From the October 19, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.