“Might downloading a 50-cent coupon for Cheerios cost you legal rights?” So begins an article in today’s New York Times that should give consumers pause, especially those with special dietary concerns.
The article highlights a new tactic being employed by General Mills and other major food producers. These firms are quietly rolling out new ‘Terms of Service’ on their websites and social media properties that limit your right to sue if you ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ them, download their coupons, or join their mailing lists.
The implications for people with food allergies and other serious dietary concerns could play out as follows: You visit the website of a food manufacturer to research their allergen labeling policies. While there, you sign up for a coupon to purchase a box of their cookies. After eating a cookie, your child suffers a serious reaction traced to cross-contamination in the product despite the manufacturer’s website safety claims. Your recourse is limited, because in downloading the coupon, you have unknowingly signed away your right to litigate.
We at SnackSafely.com deplore any practice that limits your right to hold food manufacturers accountable for their manufacturing processes and labeling claims. We urge you to read the Times article and be aware of firms that employ these kinds of tactics.