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Purdue University

Food companies scramble to satisfy 'clean eating'

The steady, national swing toward "clean eating" has helped trigger an industry move toward clearing product labels of unpronounceable ingredients. So have the numerous class-action lawsuits chasing multimillion-dollar penalties for consumers who claim they were misled or misfed.

Among the lawsuits filed this year alone are cases targeting trans fat in Heinz's Ore-Ida Extra Crispy fries, complaining about a Kraft shredded cheese product labeled "natural cheese," and blaming Ritz crackers and Cheerios cereal for gluten issues. In July, Nestle and Gerber were sued in Florida for "deceiving consumers about the fruit and vegetable content and the...