In the kind of news designed for talk-show monologues, a woman is suing the makers of Nutella for claiming that the chocolate-and-hazelnut goop is good for you.
There’s a tendency to look at these stories and have a kneejerk reaction against the woman filing the lawsuit. How the hell didn’t she know that Nutella is bad for you? Look at it! Taste it! Read the label! The comments on the article are almost exclusively of the ‘give me a break!’ variety.
But do we really want to live in a country where a product that is less nutritious than a milkshake can be marketed as a reasonable breakfast food for children? The government in this case failed to do its job of preventing a company from lying to its customers. This woman, and this lawsuit, are trying to fill that gap.
This is not an isolated incident. As Marion Nestle’s always pointing out at Food Politics, food companies are allowed to say all kinds of bonkers shit on their packaging. This cereal, for example, is at least one-third composed of marshmallows:
The fact that Nutella lied and that this woman is an idiot are not mutually exclusive. In cases where an ignorant individual is fighting against a dishonest corporation, though, I think our contempt should go first toward the one doing the lying, rather than the one who believed what they were told.