Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Goldfish, Amendment 64 mascot, could be an endangered species thanks to lawsuit

Late on November 6, after Coloradans had voted overwhelmingly to legalize recreational use of marijuana, Governor John Hickenlooper warned that given federal law, the state's residents shouldn't "break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly." But that very day, as it turns out, another Coloradan had taken aim at one of our unofficial snack foods.

Goldfish are now an endangered species.

Only hours before late-night comics across the country began cracking wise over Hickenlooper's Cheetos and Goldfish quote, Aspen resident Sonya Bolerjack had filed a class-action complaint against Pepperidge Farm, Inc., in United States District Court, District of Colorado, charging that its Cheddar Goldfish Baked Snack Crackers are not "natural," as advertised on the package. Here's the start of that suit, on view below in its entirety:

1. Defendant has made false, misleading statements that are likely to deceive reasonable consumers. Defendant has mistakenly or misleadingly represented that its Cheddar Goldfish crackers (the "Product") are "Natural," when, in fact, they are not, because they contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in the form of soy and/or soy derivatives.

2. Defendant's "Natural" statement prominently displayed on the Product's packaging and/or labeling is false, misleading, and likely to deceive reasonable consumers, such as Plaintiff and members of the Class, because the Product is not "Natural," due to the presence of soybean oil in the Product."

3. GMOs are plants that grow from seeds in which DNA splicing has been used to place genes from another source into a plant. Contrary to Defendants's express or implied representations, the Product uses plants or plant derivatives grown or created from GMOs."

There's more, of course, but it all adds up to the fact that Bolerjack believes she, and any other plaintiffs who sign on to this action, deserve $5 million in compensation from Pepperidge Farm.

This comes as a body blow to lovers of the snack crackers, stoners included, who are not particularly good about reading labels when they have the munchies.

It also could present a major obstacle to our campaign to have Cheetos and Goldfish named the official State Snacks, joining a noble lineup that already includes the State Fossil, the State Tartan and the State Dance (square).

Now, like the implementation of Amendment 64, the future of Goldfish becames a matter for the law.

Read the complete lawsuit below.

Sonya Bolerjack v Pepperidge Farm Inc

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "John Hickenlooper cites Cheetos, Goldfish when Amendment 64 passes: Official state munchies?"

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun