Class action lawsuit alleges deceptive labeling of juice products. (subscription to Law360 required)

  • In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that POM Wonderful could sue Coca-Cola under the Lanham Act for allegedly misleading consumers with its labels for Minute Maid pomegranate blueberry juice.  According to POM, Coke’s labels misrepresented the amount of actual pomegranate juice present in a blend comprised primarily of apple and grape juice.
  • POM v. Coke clarified that a company’s compliance with FDA labeling requirements does not necessarily provide a safe harbor to protect the company against challenges by competitors or consumers.
  • Another company now faces a class action lawsuit based on allegations that the company misbranded its “Organic Blueberry Pomegranate Juice” by over-representing the proportion of those juices in a blend comprised primarily of apple juice and lemon juice concentrates.  Considering the similarities between the instant suit and the dispute in POM v. Coke, food marketers should be alert to the potential for “copycat” lawsuits involving juice labels — and eventually perhaps other food labels — even where companies feel their labeling is fully FDA-compliant.