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Lawsuit claims no such thing as' heart healthy' Campbell's soup

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Why is Campbell's Soup being sued?

Campbell's Soup Company and the American Heart Association (AHA) are both facing a lawsuit over claims that a variety of Campbell's soups are healthy. Specifically, the AHA sold their “Heart Check Mark" to Campbell's Soup, but lead plaintiff Kerry O'Shea says the foods shouldn't be labeled as such because they're processed. He says what the public isn't being told is that they get a fee for selling their 'heart healthy' logo.

According to "Courthouse News Service," O'Shea has filed a 41-page lawsuit that begins with:

"The AHA claims that its mission is 'to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. That single purpose drives all we do.' This worth mission is, in truth, tainted by what the AHA does not tell the public: that for a fee, the AHA will allow manufacturers of unhealthy, processed foods - including over thirty varieties of Campbell's soups - to place the AHA's certification and endorsement on products that run directly counter to the AHA's stated mission."

O'Shea, who filed the lawsuit in New Jersey, claims the labeling would be less deceptive if the public was told the soups are the lesser of some other evils. The 'heart check' logo would serve the public better if it read: "Unhealthy, but maybe not as bad for you as other products."

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The AHA's Heart-Check Mark certification a "scheme" that has nothing to do with their nutritional guidelines, but instead confuses and misleads the public, the lawsuit says.

"...The only difference between AHA-certified Campbell's products and non-certified competing products is that Campbell's has paid money to the AHA to license its logo."

In an e-mail to the Courthouse News Service American Heart Association spokesman Amit Chitre said: "The American Heart Association does not comment on pending litigation. But for more information about our food certification program, including our criteria, visit: www.heart.org/foodcertification.

Campbell's Soup Company has also not commented.

O'Shea, who is seeking restitution and damages for consumer fraud, breach of express warranty and unjust enrichment.from the AHA and Campbell's is being represented by James Cecchi with Carella, Byrne, Cecchi, Olstein, Brody & Agnello, of Roseland, N.J.

The lawsuit claims Campbell's Soup Company and the American Heart Association are creating fraud, driving up food prices and maximizing profits "at the substantial cost to plaintiff and the other class members." Though the soups are labeled as healthy, experts warn consumers one can is actually two servings. Limiting your amount to one serving can help with salt restriction.