Parents who were shocked (shocked!) to find that Welch’s fruit snacks—despite being compressed into the shape of tiny, tiny fruits—were not actually fruit-like at all but something closer to fruity candy, have brought a lawsuit.
To be fair to the parents, Welch’s fruit snacks do, indeed, bill themselves as a “fruit” snack. To be fair to everyone else, so does a pack of Starbursts. The real issue in the case will likely turn out to be everything else listed on the package, particularly the vitamins. In other words, did Welch’s violate the federal “jelly bean rule”?
The federal “jelly bean rule”—also, though less catchily, known as 21 CFR 104.20(a)—is the rule that says that producers can’t shoehorn junkfood into the healthy category by simply fortifying it as fast as they can.
Essentially, you can’t stuff a jelly bean full of calcium and Vitamin C, and then market it as a balanced breakfast. It’s the same rule that got Coca-Cola in trouble for their “Vitamin Water” a few years back—and that, more than the messiness of the fruit/candy designation is what this case will probably turn on.
Image: LunaseeStudios / Shutterstock.