A woman in California has filed a lawsuit against Jelly Belly Candy, claiming she was duped into purchasing candy because she didn’t know it included sugar.
Jessica Gomez of San Bernardino County, California filed the complaint in February in US District Court for the Central District of California. The lawsuit concerns Jelly Belly’s Sport Beans — a product described on its website as jelly beans that are “clinically proven to maximize sports performance.”
The beans include carbohydrates, electrolytes and various vitamins. Gomez’s lawsuit also alleges that the sport beans include “evaporated cane juice” on the ingredients list — a clever way to get around using the term “sugar.”
Gomez’s lawsuit alleges fraud, negligent misrepresentation and product liability, as failure to use the word “sugar” makes the product more attractive to athletes.
According to Forbes, Jelly Belly called the lawsuit “nonsense” in an April motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The company claims that no consumer could be deceived by the label, when the Nutrition Facts for the product state the beans contain 17 grams of sugar.
The company also states that consumers should reasonably be able to tell the candy contains sugar, as the packaging clearly labels them as “jelly beans.”
In 2016, the FDA released guidance that sugar cane should not be labeled as “evaporated cane juice” on food labels, as the term “does not reveal that the ingredient’s basic nature and characterizing properties are those of a sugar.”
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.