A new class-action lawsuit alleges US beverage maker Bolthouse Farms deceived customers with claims that its Green Goodness smoothie is made of “100% fruit juice” after testing found the drink contains toxic PFAS, a synthetic chemical, at levels far above federal advisory drinking water limits.
PFAS are a class of about 12,000 chemicals typically used to make thousands of consumer products resist water, stains and heat. They are called “forever chemicals” because they do not naturally break down, and they are linked to cancer, fetal complications, liver disease, kidney disease, autoimmune disorders and other serious health issues.
Though water is considered to be a main exposure route to the chemicals, researchers are increasingly finding food to be a source of exposure. However, the Food and Drug Administration has taken few meaningful steps to protect the nation’s food supply, critics say.
“When FDA falters, the law firms that are out there are going to protect their clients because the FDA is not dealing with it,” said Tom Neltner, chemicals policy director with the Environmental Defense Fund, a non-profit that pressures the agency to take stronger action on PFAS.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs and Bolthouse Farms did not respond to requests for comment. The same attorneys weeks earlier filed a similar suit against Coca-Cola over PFAS in its Simply Tropical drink.
Though Bolthouse’s packaging states that the smoothie is made of “100% fruit juice”, the suit says PFAS are “a category of synthetic chemicals that are, by definition, artificial”.