"It would be more accurate to say that this Sara Lee product is brimming with the wholesome goodness of white flour and water," said CSPI litigation director Steve Gardner in a news release on Monday. "The intent is to confuse consumers, who are denied the nutrition they think they are paying for. It's hard to see how a judge or jury would let a company get away with such an obvious fraud."
CSPI says Sara Lee falsely claims the Whole Grain White Bread is as nutritious as whole wheat bread and fosters confusion by chiding its competitors on several Web sites for not being "100 percent whole grain."
The center wants Sara Lee to stop "the misleading whole grain claims" and to donate to charity any profits it has received from sale of the line extension since its introduction two years ago.
In response, Sara Lee says the product is designed to help consumers transition from the taste and consistency of white bread to a "blend of whole wheat and enriched wheat flour ... similar to how consumers transition from whole milk to skim milk using 2%."
"One such transitional product is Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Made with Whole Grain White Bread," said Sara Lee in a statement. "That name was chosen while we were working with the federal Food and Drug Administration. We believe that it clearly describes the product. Since 2005, this product has contributed to the whole grain nutrition needs of many white bread lovers who might not otherwise have consumed that much whole grain."