the Organic Review: Pepperidge Farm Being Sued for Claiming to be Natural, Goldfish have GMOs

By on November 16, 2012

by Ali Papademetriou

Proposition 37, California’s ballot initiative to label genetically modified foods, did not pass on Election day after big biotech and food companies lobbied nearly 50 million dollars against it. In addition to labeling GMOs, if the law were passed, it would have mandated that foods containing GMO ingredients could not label their products as ‘natural’.

Last week Colorado citizen Sonya Bolerjack filed a complaint against Pepperidge Farm in a United States district court and argued that the company had, “mistakenly or misleadingly represented that its Cheddar Goldfish crackers are ‘Natural’ when in fact, they are not, because they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the form of soy/ and or soy derivatives.”

Interestingly, Pepperidge Farm’s Goldfish crackers’ ingredients include partly hydrogenated vegetable shortening which consists of canola, soybean, and cottonseed and/or sunflower oils. Hydrogenation is the process of heating oil in order for hydrogen bubbles to pass through it. Fatty acids in the oil take hold of the hydrogen, making it denser. Fully hydrogenating would create a fat solid but stopping the process part way through creates semi-solid partially hydrogenated oil, a processed consistency similar to butter that is cheap to buy.

Many food companies use processed partly hydrogenated oil as an inexpensive substitute for butter. Unlike natural oils, hydrogenated oils have high amounts of trans fats, which are very unhealthy. More than a quarter of processed foods in grocery stores contain GMOs, so it is more likely than not that Goldfish crackers use genetically modified soybeans for their partly hydrogenated vegetable oil.

Bolerjack argued that, “genetically modified soy products contain genes and/or DNA that would not normally be in them, and are thus not natural.” She is anticipating a jury trial and is claiming that Colorado’s Consumer Protection Act has been infringed and destructed express warranty and misrepresentation.

One of Pepperidge Farm’s spokespeople told FoodNavigator-USA, “We don’t comment on the specifics of pending litigation but we are confident in the accuracy of our labels and stand behind our products.”

Image Reference

Goldfish crackers «. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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One Comment

  1. Ralph Brown

    November 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Goldfish Crackers are as NATURAL and safe to eat as the plastic Flamingos in alot of peoples yards. Make up your own mind if you want to eat one or both!

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