Nature Valley is Unnatural

Cashew Cranberry Granola Bars, by flickr user MGF/Lady Disdain, licensed by Creative Commons.

In a crunch

How natural does ‘natural’ have to be? It appears that the Organic Consumers Association (and other groups) have an answer. A lawsuit from a few years ago has forced General Mills, makers of the crunchy granola snack Nature Valley, to drop the “100% Natural” label from their advertising. The snack contains traces of a chemical called glyphosate, which is actually a weed killer. The inclusion of this substance is in accordance with EPA standards (30 parts per million in grains), whereas Nature Valley products include .45 parts per million. Still, the OCA and 2 other organizations have shaken General Mills and are now having an impact on their product (and stock performance). Read More

McDonald’s: Not Lovin’ It

Happy Meal McDonald's, by flickr user C@RiTo1, licensed by Creative Commons.

Royale with cheese?

Not everyone is happy with fast food restaurants, but a father in Canada is super-sizing his complaints. A man in Quebec named Antonio Bramante is suing McDonald’s, claiming that they are breaking laws and advertising toys and games to children under 13. Happy Meals, the world famous McDonald’s meal for children, claims that the toys in each meal often are tied in with a new movie release or as part of a “series”, which drives the kids to ask for return trips to the Home of the Big Mac. Bramante’s lawyer, Joey Zukran, is citing Quebec’s Consumer Protection Act, is stating that this focus on advertising to minors is against the law. The law firm claims that anyone who has purchased a Happy Meal in Quebec since November 2013 would be considered to join the class action lawsuit.

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Disclosure of a Creepy Watcher

Would you move into a haunted house?

Three days after closing in June 2014, Derek Broaddus and his wife Maria began second guessing their $1.3 million purchase of 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey.  One typed note placed in the Broaddus’s mailbox served as the catalyst to a string of odd events that eventually led to a lawsuit filed against the previous homeowners, John and Andrea Woods.  Although the family’s horror movie started over four years ago, the story is most relevant now because everything is being disclosed, including the contents of each of the four letters sent to the Broadduses by “The Watcher.”  Read more

Concussions, CTE, & Closure

Silver Football and NFL Logo On Top of a Green Field, by flickr user C_osett, licensed by Creative Commons.

For the love of the game

The family of Junior Seau has reached settlement with the National Football League over his 2012 suicide. The Hall of Fame linebacker, who played more than half of his 20 year football career with the San Diego Chargers, took his own life at the age of 43. He was later diagnosed with CTE, a chronic form of brain damage, likely brought on by his violent on-field tackling in the NFL. Reports claim that Seau’s family will receive up to $4m in the wrongful death settlement, which was filed in a Philadelphia PA federal court. The NFL has come under fire over the last few years as more and more retired and former players are showing signs of brain damage, concussions, and dementia. Read more

Campbell: No Soup for You

Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup, by flickr user Kimberly Vardeman, licensed by Creative Commons

In hot water

Investors are boiling over a famous American brand’s communication tactics, or lack thereof. Campbell Soup is being sued by a hedge fund called Third Point, whose main investor is billionaire Dan Loeb. The lawsuit claims that Campbell’s board refrained from disclosing some important information to potential and current investors in their latest strategic review. Third Point claims that there was some significant details excluded and made private by the snack maker. The board at Campbell has fired back, saying that Loeb & Third Point are misinformed and over-stepping their bounds. The lawsuit was filed in state superior court in Camden, New Jersey. Read more