Cheerios lawsuit 2024: Buzz Around a Breakfast Brand

by | Mar 15, 2024 | Personal Injury | 0 comments

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For decades, Cheerios have been a breakfast cereal, trusted for their wholesomeness.

But what if your morning bowl held more than just oats and honey?

From childhood memories to adulthood routines, the iconic “O”-shaped cereal has long been a symbol of wholesome mornings.

A recent lawsuit alleges that Cheerios contain traces of a pesticide, raising concerns about health risks. In this Cheerios lawsuit, the cherished breakfast cereal’s manufacturer faces allegations of pesticide contamination.

Let’s delve into the details of this Cheerios lawsuit and see if the ‘Cheerios’ name can truly fulfill its wholesome reputation.

Background on Cheerios

Cheerios were first introduced as “Cheerioats” in 1941. In 1945, the name was shortened to “Cheerios.” Thirty-five years after the cereal’s first release, “Cinnamon Nut Cheerios” became the first variant to be offered in stores, but it was discontinued after a year.

In 1979, almost three years later, “Honey Nut Cheerios” hit the market. General Mills sold approximately 1.8 million cases of Honey Nut Cheerios in its first year. Since then, Cheerios have become a go-to baby food, often introduced to infants aged 9–12 months to aid in developing fine motor skills.

In January 2014, General Mills declared that original cheerios would no longer contain genetically modified ingredients. However, due to possible cross-contact during manufacturing and transportation, General Mills states that “trace amounts of genetically modified material may be present” in Original Cheerios.

Cheerios ads, dating back to the 1960s, targeted kids with animated characters like Bullwinkle and Hoppity Hooper, promoting the cereal’s bravery and taste. Now, there are 21 flavors of cheerios available.

Cheerios lawsuits 2024

Katrina and Benjamin Necaise

On February 23, 2024, a class action lawsuit was filed by plaintiffs Katrina and Benjamin Necaise. The lawsuit alleges that Cheerios contain dangerously high levels of chlormequat, a pesticide.

Independent lab testing revealed the presence of chlormequat in several Cheerios products, including regular Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Frosted Cheerios, and Oat Crunch Oats N’ Honey Cheerios. The products have been evaluated at concentrations ranging from 40 to over 100 parts per billion of chlormequat.

Study on Chlormequat

Chlormequat is a toxin that can damage the reproductive system and disrupt fetal development. It looks like white crystals with a fish-like odor. Nearly 80 percent of Americans have encountered the chemical chlormequat.

A plant growth pesticide called chlormequat works by inhibiting plants from growing larger. It prevents grain and oat crops from bending over as they develop.

A study published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology found high detection frequencies of chlormequat in foods made with oats.

In April 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established permissible levels of chlormequat chloride in imported oats, wheat, barley, and select animal products, effectively allowing the inclusion of chlormequat in the U.S. food supply. In 2020, the permissible limits for oats were raised.

According to an American study that looked at U.S. people urine samples from 2017 to 2023, the percentage of individuals who had chlormequat concentrations in their urine rise by more than 20% between 2017 and 2023 (69% in 2017 and 90% in 2023), indicating that consumer exposure is rising.

Accusations against General Mills

Plaintiffs, a married couple with four children, claim they purchased Cheerios believing them to be a healthy and safe option after discovering undisclosed pesticide contamination.

The Cheerios lawsuit contends that General Mills’ failure to disclose the presence of chlormequat on product labels misled consumers and resulted in economic injury.

General Mills faces accusations for;

  • Violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act
  • Unjust enrichment under California law
  • Breach of an implied warranty under California law

The plaintiff requests various forms of monetary compensation, including actual, special, exemplary, and punitive damages, as well as disgorgement of ill-gotten gains and restitution of wrongful profits.

The plaintiffs also ask for injunctive relief, such as enjoining General Mills from continuing the alleged unlawful practices and ordering corrective advertising.

Furthermore, they demand reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and litigation costs, as well as pre- and post-judgment interest on any awarded amounts. Finally, the plaintiffs request any other relief deemed just and proper by the court. They emphasize their demand for a trial by jury on any counts that are triable as such.

Steven Epstein

On February 29, 2024, Steven Epstein is suing General Mills on behalf of himself and others. He claims that Cheerios contain high levels of the chemical pesticide chlormequat chloride, which he considers dangerous. The Cheerios lawsuit alleges that General Mills is responsible for manufacturing, marketing, and distributing these potentially harmful products.

Plaintiff Steven Epstein, a resident of New Rochelle, New York, purchased the defendant’s regular Cheerios from a ShopRite store in Westchester County, New York, in January 2024. He believed the product was free of dangerous chemicals based on its advertising, marketing, and listed ingredients.

However, lab tests revealed it contained over 100 ppb of chlormequat, exceeding the health advisory benchmark by more than 70 ppb. As a result, Epstein suffered economic losses and would only consider purchasing the product again if chlormequat was removed.

Allegations against General Mills include:

  • Violations of the New York General Business Law
  • Breach of Implied Warranty of Merchantability
  • Unjust Enrichment

The plaintiff and the class members seek relief through various requests to the court. They seek compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages, along with prejudgment interest on awarded amounts and restitution.

They also request an injunction against the defendant’s illegal practices, including a corrective advertising campaign, and the awarding of reasonable attorney fees, expenses, and costs. Finally, the plaintiff demands a trial by jury on all triable issues.

What To Do If You are Affected?

If you are affected by chlormequat in Cheerios, consider filing a Cheerios lawsuit. Contact a lawyer to learn more about your legal rights. A qualified attorney will help you get the compensation you deserve. Gather evidence, such as product bills and your medical records. It will help you strengthen your claim.

To conclude,

The cheerios lawsuit is still in its early stages. As consumers, it’s vital to understand the extent of the alleged pesticide presence and the health complications. Additionally, opt for other breakfast options. Staying informed about the case’s development will be a crucial step in making more informed choices.

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MedLegal360 is a specialized author in medical-legal matters, providing clear, authoritative insights on healthcare legislation and personal injury litigation for professionals and the curious.

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