Jessica Alba's beauty and lifestyle brand, The Honest Company, has been accused of misleading customers in a class-action lawsuit filed in California.
Jonathan D. Rubin, a US-based consumer, claims to have been mislead by the company's "natural" branding, claiming it uses synthetic preservatives in some of its products.
Rubin says that the brand is "deceptively and misleadingly" labelling its products, in particular its Honest Diapers, Honest Hand Dish Soap and Honest Multi-Surface Cleaner. The suit alleges that these products are mislabeled and contain synthetic ingredients Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine and Sodium Polyacrylate.
The lawsuit also criticises Honest SPF 30 Sunscreen for being ineffective, claims which have been troubling the brand for several months as consumers took to social media as well as review sites to criticise the product over the summer.
The Honest Company could be forced to pay up to $5m in damages plus interest on all liquidated sums if the lawsuit succeeds.
The company has responded to the claims, with Alba telling Pret-a-Reporter: "The allegations against us are baseless and without merit. We strongly stand behind our products and the responsibility we have to our consumers. We are steadfast in our commitment to transparency and openness." She added: "I know my children, Honor and Haven, are growing up in a safer home because of our products."
In the US, the FDA currently does not place restriction on the use of the term "natural" when used in cosmetic, cleaning or food labels.
The Honest Company launched in 2012 and stocks its baby and personal care products in a number of large US retailers, including Costco and Target, as well as through its website. It plans to launch a new beauty line later this month.