Bethenny Frankel's health claims when it comes to her Skinnygirl Margarita are about to come under serious legal scrutiny.
The former Real Housewives of New York star is on the receiving end of a class action lawsuit filed by a woman who claims that she and other consumers were misled into buying the popular brand of cocktails based on false advertising claims.
Would you like some salt with that? E! News has the lowdown.
Per the complaint, filed in federal court in California, Reneta Bonar alleged that Frankel and Skinnygirl's manufacturer, Beam Global Spirits, tricked people into purchasing their product by making "deceptive statements" regarding the ingredients of the alcoholic drink.
Court docs accuse the reality star and its maker of falsely advertising that her "guilt-free" line of margaritas is "all natural" when, in fact, it contains a small amount of the chemical preservative sodium benzoate. While FDA-approved, there was enough of the stuff in the low-calorie drink to prompt Whole Foods to pull the line from store shelves last week because it did not meet the grocery's quality standards.
Bonar's complaint seeks over $5 million in damages from the defendants and demands that Beam Global "engage in a corrective advertising campaign."
In response to the suit, Beam released a statement dismissing the legal action and standing by its claims that Skinnygirl "meets the highest quality standards."
"In today's litigious society, nothing is surprising" reads a statement from the company. "The litigation filed in relation to the labeling of Skinnygirl Margarita is frivolous. We will defend our case vigorously, and we are fully confident we will prevail."
As for Bethenny, the reality star-turned-overnight spirits tycoon defended Skinnygirl from all the haters, though she did choose her words carefully in a post on her website Tuesday titled "Setting the Record Straight."
"We would not sell anything that I don't personally drink. I'm a natural foods chef and health is a top priority for me and my family," Frankel wrote. "The Skinnygirl Margarita is made with natural ingredients and its label is consistent with U.S. federal regulations, which is why it is carried in stores nationwide and continues to fly off the shelves."
Note she didn't say "all natural."
She added: "I built my brand on trust and honesty. I don't take lightly obvious attempts to put my integrity in question. I will always answer your questions and concerns directly and truthfully."
Now she'll likely have to answer attorneys' questions as well.
—Additional reporting by Claudia Rosenbaum