Dollars & Sense

Frito-Lay “all natural” snacks under attack

Updated: 2013-09-02T21:39:57Z

Snacks under attack

Frito-Lay must face a consumer lawsuit alleging it deceptively labeled products as “all natural,” U.S. District Judge Roslynn R. Mauskopf in Brooklyn ruled. The judge did narrow the number of claims in the suit and dismissed allegations specifically filed against corporate parent PepsiCo.

“Plaintiffs all purchased certain Tostitos, SunChips and Bean Dip products,” Mauskopf wrote. “They were injured as a result of those purchases because they paid higher prices than they would have otherwise paid, or not paid at all, for a product that they contend is not, in fact, all natural.”

In their case, which seeks to represent consumers in at least three states, the plaintiffs allege that the Frito-Lay North America Inc. products labeled as “all-natural” contained unnatural, genetically-modified organisms.

Auto-driver

Bumper-to-bumper traffic slowed to a crawl, finding a space in a crowded garage, or squeezing into a tight parking spot are no fun for any driver. To ease such tedious aspects of driving, companies from Mercedes-Benz to Continental AG are rolling out systems that take over the wheel.

Mercedes is leading the way with an add-on called “Stop&Go Pilot” available in its top-of-the-line S-Class sedan. Backed by an array of 12 ultrasonic detectors, five cameras and six radar sensors, the $105,800 S-Class has two of the building blocks toward cars that drive themselves: dynamic cruise control, which can match the speed of the car in front of it, and “lane keep,” which will adjust steering to stay between lane lines.

Sitting back to read emails or watch a video as the car takes you to your destination — a scenario envisioned by the likes of Google Inc. — is probably still years away. But the Mercedes option and others being readied by rivals such as BMW and Volvo show that the roll-out is underway.

“Autonomous drive won’t come as a revolution overnight,” said Jochen Hermann, director of driver-assistance systems at Mercedes. “The driver needs to get used to the technology.”

Osteoporosis suit

A federal judge overseeing consolidated litigation against Merck & Co over jaw injuries allegedly caused by the osteoporosis drug Fosamax has ordered hundreds of cases be dispersed to courts across the country for trial. The decision last week by U.S. District Judge John Keenan in Manhattan marks an unusual and potentially costly development for Merck. Companies often find it easier to reach settlements in mass tort cases that are consolidated before one judge.

The judge’s order requires that 200 cases per month be sent to back to courts where they were initially filed, beginning with the oldest ones.

Recalls

• More than 25,000 stuffed Build-A-Bear Sulley products are being recalled because they pose a choking hazard to children. Sulley is a furry blue creature from the Monsters movies. The Build-A-Bear stuffed monster is covered in blue furry fabric with purple spots and has blue eyes measuring about 1 inch in diameter. They were sold at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores and online at www.buildabear.com during June 2013. The stuffed animal’s eyes can detach, posing a choking hazard to young children.

More information: Build-A-Bear toll-free at 866-236-5683, or www.buildabear.com and click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page.

• Car seat adaptors used to secure a variety of infant car seats onto Baby Jogger strollers. The “Single” model fits all single strollers, the “Double” works only on double strollers and the “Select/Versa” fits Select and Versa strollers. The car seat adaptor support bars can fail, posing a danger that the seat could fall and a child in the seat could be hurt.

More information: Baby Jogger at 877-506-2213, or www.babyjogger.com and click on Recall Information tab at the bottom of the page.

• Vitamix 64-ounce Low-Profile containers with blade part number 103208 A and blade date codes 03-12 (March 2012) through 07-13 (July 2013). The blade can break, and possibly cut people using the blender.

More information: Vitamix at 888-350-4386.

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