Truvia, the brand of alternative sweetener released by Cargill, has agreed to pay $6.1 million in a lawsuit settled by parties that claim Cargill misled customers into believing that the sweetener was natural, when in reality, “extraction and processing methods mean a reasonable consumer would no longer consider Truvia to be natural.” As a result, Truvia has to scrap “natural” from any and all packaging.
Cargill has not admitted any wrongdoing, but has readily agreed to the terms of the settlement, saying instead in a statement, “We stand behind the labeling of our Truvia natural sweetener consumer products. Those products are made from natural ingredients and the labeling meets all applicable legal and regulatory guidelines.”
The plaintiffs have largely argued, however, that Truvia, which is more expensive than its artificial sweetener competitors, is produced through synthetic chemical means. The ingredients in Truvia are stevia, erythritol, and natural flavors, and, according to the courts, erythritol is a sugar alcohol that is produced from glucose by fermentation with yeast, and is only found naturally in certain fruits. Earlier this year, The Daily Meal reported that a teenage scientist found that the same chemical can be used as an insecticide.