Los Angeles, CA – Coconut oil has been a recent health food trend that may not be as healthy as its manufacturers claim. On May 3, 2017, Costco proposed to settle a class action case alleging it misrepresented the nutritional value of its signature Kirkland Organic Coconut Oil. The Costco Coconut Oil Class Action Lawsuit is Boswell, et al. v. Costco Wholesale Corp, Case No. 8:16-cv-00278, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
Costco’s Kirkland Organic Coconut Oil claimed it was “healthy and delicious,” when, in fact, the coconut oil contained more saturated fat than butter. Costco coconut oil was labeled as having “health benefits.” Additionally, the labeling encouraged consumers to use the coconut oil as a substitute for butter.
Costco’s misrepresentation most likely helped sell much more product than they would have otherwise. Consumers likely purchased coconut oil over competing for oil products like olive oil, butter, or canola oil, thinking that they were buying a healthy alternative. But, there is no such thing as a “healthy” oil.
Oils are extremely high in calories because they are just dissimilar sources of liquid fats. Therefore, claiming coconut oil as a “healthy” product deceives consumers into believing that coconut oil is actually good for them when it is not. There is a well-known consensus in the health industry that coconut oil is approximately 90% saturated fat, which increases the risk of Cardiovascular Heart Disease (CHD) and Stroke.
To settle the case, Costco proposed that the terms “healthy” and “health benefits” will be removed from the coconut oil packaging. Additionally, Costco will put $775,000 into a settlement fund to cover claims and other expenses. The class period for consumers to be able to submit claims for purchases of 42.3-ounce jars of Kirkland coconut oil will be between March 1, 2014, and June 30, 2016. However, the Margarian Law Firm is investigating consumer claims on other coconut oil manufacturers for similar representations. Other coconut oil manufacturers who have made similar “healthy” claims on their labeling could be liable for making the same or similar misrepresentations about their products.
The Margarian Law Firm has successfully represented thousands of clients on a wide spectrum of different matters for over ten years. The attorneys in the consumer rights division are able to handle a wide range of consumer claims and concerns, including false or misleading advertising and marketing, deceptive and unfair business practices, along with other types of complex litigation. The attorneys at the Margarian Law Firm are skilled in different areas of law and able to serve various legal needs of all clients in state and federal courts.