After a number of costly lawsuits and cases in the past, General Mills isn't taking any chances when it comes to the legal rights of its customers. Consumers will give up their right to sue the company if they download coupons, "join" it in online communities like Facebook, enter a company-sponsored sweepstakes or contest or interact with it in a variety of other ways.
General Mills makes cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker. They added the new legal information to their website to make their new policy official and known to their customers.
Lawyers are advising people who buy these products to be aware of the new policy and to know what that may mean for them and their families. While General Mills is trying to protect themselves against frivolous class-action suits, there are some issues that can arise with this new policy.
There is concern about the safety of customers following the release of this information on Tuesday. Food allergies, ingredients and labeling problems could be a serious threat to customers who may have no way to fully protect themselves anymore.
With General Mills serving many of the common cereals and breakfast foods that our children eat every morning, I think it's very important for parents to be informed about this new policy. Children with food allergies may be especially at risk in this situation, because cereals can sometimes contain traces of ingredients may not be listed on the label.
They are essentially trying to make it more difficult for a parent in this situation to come to them with their issue. Instead of listening to the problem and trying to figure out the issue, they are now automatically being defensive by saying that you must use informal negotiation via email or go through arbitration to seek relief.
General Mills may be the first major food company to make these legal changes, but many others are expected to follow in suit in an attempt to protect their company from all liability.