Consumers in this class action claimed that Seventh Generation Inc. deceptively labeled its cleaning products as “natural” even though they contained synthetic preservatives. Seventh Generation has agreed to pay $4.5 million to settle this case in New York federal court.
Seventh Generation makes several household cleaning items such as laundry detergent, glass cleaner, and dish soap. The products in question are natural laundry detergent, natural 4X concentrated laundry detergent, ultra power plus natural laundry detergent, natural dish liquid, and ultra power plus natural dish liquid. They were available for sale in stores such as Walgreens, Walmart, Target, Amazon.com, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Whole Foods.
The consumers alleged that the company incorrectly used the term “natural,” despite the fact that two of the ingredients — Methylisothiazolinone (“MIT”) or Benzisothiazolinone (“BIT”) — are synthetic. MIT and BIT are antimicrobial preservatives.
In its press release, Seventh Generation stood by its “natural” labeling, but cited burdensome litigation costs as its reason for settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, Seventh Generation will remove the “All Natural” and “100% Natural” claims, and will add clarifications about the non-toxic and hypoallergenic claims. Additionally, Seventh Generation will provide compensation to eligible claimants.
This lawsuit is one of several settled and pending cases against companies claiming that their products are natural, but contain synthetic substances. See Earth Friendly Settlement and Tom’s of Main Settlement.