Beer producer sued over “Product of U.S.A.” claim on products purportedly made with imported hops. (subscription to Law360 required)

  • A product may bear a “Made in America”-type claim in accordance with federal guidelines where “all or virtually all” of the product is made in the U.S.A.  California’s “Made in America” standard is stricter, prohibiting such claims if any unit or part of the product has been entirely or substantially made outside of the U.S.A.
  • Plaintiffs have sued a major beer producer, alleging a violation of California law where products purportedly made with imported hops are labeled with the claim, “Product of U.S.A.”
  • Construed strictly, California’s “Made in America” standard could be interpreted to mean that not even raw materials (including perhaps precursor chemicals and processing aids) used in food production may be of foreign origin.  The disposition of this case (among others involving non-food products) will be significant for the food industry, particularly considering the complexity of modern food production and the global supply chain.