Milberg Files Bolthouse Farms Fruit Juice Smoothie PFAS Lawsuit

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July 21, 2023

by Brian Eckert

Bolthouse Farms markets their fruit smoothies as a healthy, natural beverage—a claim that is at odds with the presence of PFAS, or so-called “forever chemicals,” found in them, alleges a Milberg class action lawsuit.

Anyone who purchased a qualifying Bolthouse Farms beverage may be automatically eligible to join this lawsuit as a class member.

What Does the Lawsuit Claim?

The lead plaintiffs are residents of California and Illinois. They purchased Bolthouse Farms fruit juice smoothie products that they claim, when submitted to testing, were found to contain per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (“PFAS”), a type of synthetic chemicals known to have harmful health and environmental effects.

Plaintiffs say they purchased beverages they believed to be, based on product labeling, packaging, and marketing materials, healthy and free of harmful substances. For example, the purchased products are represented as nutritious “100% fruit juice” smoothies with “no added sugar” and multiple servings of fruit.

Defendant knows the importance of marketing and labeling, including the value of the label representations they carefully choose for placement on the Products. Accordingly, Defendant’s representations are designed to set its Products apart from the litany of competitors in this space.

Relying on these representations, the plaintiffs were under the impression they were buying healthy, natural fruit juice beverages that did not contain any artificial ingredients. Plaintiffs’ independent testing of the products, however, determined the presence of PFAS. The discovery of PFAS in products marketed as healthy and natural caused the plaintiffs economic injury, they say.

“Plaintiffs bring this suit to halt Defendant’s dissemination of false and misleading representations and to correct the false and misleading perceptions that Defendant’s representations have created in the minds of reasonable consumers,” according to the complaint.

Which Bolthouse Farms Products are Named in the Lawsuit?

The complaint lists the following Bolthouse Farms-branded beverages as containing PFAS:

  • Green Goodness Fruit Juice Smoothie
  • Amazing Mango Fruit Juice Smoothie
  • Blue Goddess Fruit Juice Smoothie
  • C-Boost Fruit Juice Smoothie
  • Berry Superfood Boost

This is not necessarily an exhaustive list of all Bolthouse Farms fruit smoothies that contain PFAS. As noted in the complaint, “discovery will reveal the exhaustive list of substantially similar products that are included in this action.”

Why Are PFAS Considered Harmful?

PFAS were developed by scientists in the 1940s. Used to make products resistant to grease, water, stains, and sticking, PFAS are added to a wide range of goods, including food packaging, non-stick pans, firefighting foam, outdoor gear, personal care products, building products, and personal protective equipment.

They’re known as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down in the environment or our bodies. PFAS chemicals can persist for thousands of years and are found in the blood of virtually every American.

Scientific research suggests that exposure to PFAS may be harmful to human health. The EPA reports that studies have linked PFAS exposure to:

  • Reproductive effects
  • Developmental effects
  • Reduced immune system response
  • Hormone interference
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Obesity risk
  • Cancer risk

Around half of the country’s tap water could contain one or more PFAS chemicals, a newly released study estimates. PFAS manufacturers have been hit with thousands of lawsuits over PFAS contamination of public water systems. To date, DuPont, Chemours, Corteva, and 3M have paid nearly $11.5 billion to settle these claims.

The PFAS public water settlements allege economic damages related to testing and filtering. But Americans sickened by the chemicals could also have standing to sue, opening another PFAS litigation front.

Who Can Participate in The Bolthouse Farms PFAS Lawsuit?

Milberg’s PFAS lawsuit against Bolthouse Farms seeks to establish three consumer classes:

  • A Nationwide Class made up of all persons who purchased a qualifying product within the United States for personal use.
  • A California Class consisting of all persons who purchased a qualifying product within the State of California for personal use.
  • An Illinois Class comprised of all persons who purchased a qualifying product within the State of Illinois for personal use.

These class definitions could be amended, or a new plaintiff class or classes added, as the lawsuit proceeds. If the lawsuit is certified, and a settlement results, eligible class members affected by this litigation should receive a notice informing them of their rights and options.

The Bolthouse Farms PFAS lawsuit raises allegations similar to those in our Nantucket Nectars PFAS lawsuit. Both cases assert that reasonable consumers would not expect products labeled as having “100% fruit juice” or “all natural ingredients” to contain dangerous, man-made chemicals.

Since 1965, Milberg has filed thousands of class action lawsuits that have recovered billions of dollars for our clients, protected consumers’ health and rights, and advanced the public interest.