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Beech-Nut Agrees to Settle Suit Over Fake Juice for $7.5 Million

Associated Press

Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp., accused of selling millions of bottles of sugar water as pure apple juice for babies, has settled a class-action suit against it for $7.5 million, attorneys announced today.

A company spokesman said the company denied intentional wrongdoing but said there was “no question” some product labeled apple juice was shipped that was not pure apple juice.

Indictments against the company and two of its executives are pending.

The settlement has been preliminarily approved by U.S. District Judge James McGirr Kelly, who set a Sept. 15 hearing to determine whether it should get final approval.

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Lawyer David Berger filed the suit in November for Giant Markets Inc., based in Scranton, as a class action on behalf of anyone who bought the product for resale from Oct. 1, 1978, through March 31, 1983.

In addition to those plaintiffs, primarily retailers, several individual consumers’ lawsuits were consolidated into Berger’s.

The settlement, if approved, would provide $2.5 million in Beech-Nut and affiliated products to the retailers and a $5-million cash fund for consumers, Berger said.

The settlement calls for any balance from the consumers’ fund to be used to provide charities with Beech-Nut products for the poor.

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