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ConAgra Challenged Over "100% Natural" Claim on Wesson Oils

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, All About Organics page, and our Myth of Natural page.

ConAgra Foods is facing two class action lawsuits that claim the marketing of its Wesson cooking oils as "100% natural" and "pure" is misleading because the oil is extracted from plants that have been genetically modified (GM).

The two lawsuits, one filed in Los Angeles and the other in Brooklyn, seek millions of dollars' worth of refunds for consumers who bought products in ConAgra's Wesson range of cooking oils, as well as a court order preventing the company from labeling the oils as natural. The oils concerned include Wesson-brand corn oil, canola oil, Bast Blend and vegetable oil.

According to the complaint, labeling the oils "100% natural" is misleading because GM plants are "unnatural", as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO says: "Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can be defined as organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally."

ConAgra does not explicitly state that its Wesson-brand cooking oils are derived from genetically modified plants. however, the complaints point to a section on the ConAgra corporate website regarding biotechnology, which they claim implies that the oils are extracted from GM crops.  

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