Madison - St. Clair Record

Friday, December 6, 2019

Class action accuses Aldi of 'deceptively' labeling, selling, lactose-free creamers


By John Breslin | Jul 8, 2019

Nelson and Cochran

BELLEVILLE -- Aldi faces a potential class action over allegations that a range of creamers it sells are deceptively branded as "lactose free."

The action, led by St. Clair County resident Carly Robertson and filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court, alleges the Friendly Farms range of products contains "material amounts of lactose." Aldi is accused of violating a variety of Illinois laws with allegations that it has engaged in "deceptive, unfair and false practices."

According to the lawsuit, the coffee creamers under scrutiny are the hazelnut and vanilla brands that Aldi sells in stores and online. The labels deceptively allege that they contain zero lactose, the suit says.

According to the complaint, testing by the Food and Drug Administration and under the Code of Federal Regulations has revealed that the "creamers contains material amounts of lactose." The suit also cites FDA updates from March 2008 and November 2017 that state a "lactose-free product should not contain any lactose."

Aldi, which has headquarters in Batavia, Illinois, is violating the state's Consumer Fraud, Uniform Deceptive Products, and the Food, Drug and Cosmetics sale as it "directs and controls all aspects of the sale of its well known products," the suit alleges.

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Record.

Robertson alleges she bought the French vanilla brand at the company's Cahokia store on multiple occasions over a number of years and would not have bought the product had she known it was not lactose free.

Robertson, who seeks fair and just relief, is represented by attorneys David C. Nelson of the Nelson and Nelson Law Firm of Belleville, Matthew Armstrong of the Armstrong Law Firm in St. Louis, and Stuart Cochran in Dallas. 

The suit states that 70 percent of the world's population has some intolerance to lactose. Depending on the individual, adverse reactions include "abdominal bloating and cramps, flatulence, diarrhea, nausea...and vomiting."

Further, the complaint adds, there are benefits to avoiding lactose, including the easier absorption of nutrients. The suits alleges Aldi's stated mission is that it sells products with the "safety, health and well being" of customers in mind.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case number 19L 0457 

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