A Safeway shopper is suing the grocery retailer, alleging that the company is misleading in its 100% Natural claim. Safeway introduced a higher end line of products branded as “Open Nature” a few years ago. The tag line is “100% Natural”. According to the lawsuit, the “100% Natural Multi-Grain Waffles” product is not really 100% natural because it include an ingredient, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, which is a chemical preservative that is not at all natural.
Does the lawsuit have merit?
Here is the product ingredient list:
Whole wheat flour, whey, buttermilk, water, egg whites, expeller pressed canola oil, multi blend (oat flour, corn flour, barley flour, rye flour, brown rice flour), contains 2% or less of: sugar, honey, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate), wheat bran, expeller pressed soy lecithin, amaranth flour, millet flour, quinoa flour, salt, cinnamon.
Overall, the ingredients look good. The oil is expeller pressed, which is both more expensive and retains more nutrients compared to chemical extraction. The leavening used to make the waffles puffy is not yeast, but rather a combination of two benign chemicals – baking soda and said sodium acid pyrophosphate.
Sodium acid pyrophosphate is created in a lab by the reaction of sodium carbonate with phosphoric acid. Both are found in nature, but are manufactured in chemical plants to reduce price.
If you were the judge, what would you decide?