A protein shake isn’t a meal, it’s a meal made from ingredients you can’t pronounce, like beans and soybeans.
The protein shakes made by the companies behind the popular Protein Bites have gone on to sell more than a billion units worldwide, making them one of the fastest-growing food products in the world.
But in the U.S., the process of making these shakes has long been controversial.
And now, a lawsuit has begun to challenge how they’re sold.
“There are a lot of concerns about this, and they’re very serious concerns,” said Mark B. Lutz, the head of the Food and Drug Administration’s division of food safety, who previously worked for the agency’s division that regulates food additives.
“We don’t want to be part of the food supply.”
The lawsuit in question was filed last week in the Northern District of California by attorney John B. Molineux.
He’s seeking class-action status on behalf of his clients, alleging that the companies that make these products intentionally misrepresented ingredients to consumers.
Moltiux is the founder of the nonprofit Food Safety Coalition, which advocates for improved food safety standards and better oversight of the foods we eat.
“You’re eating your protein powder, you’re eating it in the form of a liquid and then you’re consuming it in a serving size, but you’re also eating the entire package,” he said.
“The whole package is a product that’s going to make you sick.”
Moltis says the companies responsible for the products make them claim that they are 100% organic, without mentioning that some of the ingredients, like soybean oil and vegetable stock, are often added to products to enhance flavor and appearance.
“They say these ingredients are non-GMO and non-PFOA,” Moltisi said.
He claims that if you look closely at the ingredients list on a protein shake, you’ll find that there are some ingredients like soybeans and soybean stock, but they’re also listed as natural ingredients.
“If you look at the ingredient list on the protein shake itself, you can see they’re making the claim that it’s 100% non-gMO, and it’s also listed on the ingredients page as a natural product,” he added.
“That’s a lie, that’s a deceitful claim.”
Lutz said that if the companies don’t follow the rules, consumers will be confused as to what the ingredients actually are, and then they’ll be harmed by the products.
“All of a sudden, we have consumers who are buying these products, who are not going to know exactly what they’re buying,” Lutz told FoxNews.com.
“And if you don’t know exactly where you’re getting these ingredients, it will be a huge, huge problem.”
According to the lawsuit, many of the companies use “gluten-free” ingredients in their protein shakes, even though there’s no scientific evidence to support that.
Lutchins lawsuit says the ingredients listed on product packaging do not actually contain gluten, and instead they are made from soybean, wheat, and rice.
Miltis complaint also points to the company’s website that states “vegetarian, non-meat, vegan and allergy-friendly ingredients” are used to make the product.
However, according to a statement from the company, “Vegan, nonmeat, and allergy friendly ingredients are only used in small amounts to improve the flavor and texture of the protein powders, and are not found in the original formulation.”
“These ingredients are not a substitute for healthy and safe foods,” the company wrote in the statement.
“In fact, some of these ingredients have been used in foods that are known to cause health problems.”
The companies that are listed as vegan in the ingredients listing do include a variety of non-vegetarians, including vegetarians, but the company does not mention them on the company website.
Mioliux’s lawsuit claims that the company is using the names “Vegetarian Foods” or “Vegegents” when it’s using the “Veggie Protein” label, which is a confusing reference to the ingredients that are actually made with soybeans, wheat and rice in order to confuse consumers.
“People don’t really understand the difference between vegan and vegetarian, or non-plant, nonfat, and protein powder,” Miolis said.
According to Lutchin, the lawsuit is an attempt to force the companies to clarify their labeling policies and to make it clear that they have a vegan mandate in place.
“I think they’ve been misled by their own marketing,” Moliks said.
Molidiux, who started the lawsuit in 2009, says that when he was younger he used to eat the same protein powder that most people in the country did when he had the chance.
But he didn’t for a long time because he was