GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — General Mills Inc. is throwing away 50 million boxes of cereal made from oats, some treated with a pesticide not approved for use on the grain, the company confirmed Friday.
Meanwhile, the country’s second-largest cereal maker faces a class-action lawsuit filed by consumers who bought cereal made from oats treated with the pesticide, Dursban, before the problem was detected and sales were stopped.
Dursban-treated oats were used to make Cheerios, Frankenberry, Kix, Lucky Charms, Oatmeal Crisp and Reese’s Peanut Butter Puffs cereals.
General Mills said the suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, is without merit because government food regulators have determined that the pesticide treatment did not present a health hazard.
But Clinton Krislov, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the company breached its warranty by not disclosing the contents of the packages, even though the mislabeling was unintentional.
“The fact that no one has been harmed at this point isn’t important,” he said. “People are very concerned about what their children eat, and the description on the box didn’t fit the contents.”
The class of plaintiffs in the suit includes all buyers of oat-based General Mills cereals dating back to May 1993. The court action seeks refunds for the consumers and fees for the attorneys.