Chipotle non-GM claims challenged again in court.
- As previously covered on this blog, a plaintiffs’ class action lawsuit was filed against Chipotle in connection with its nationwide advertising campaign premised on a pledge to serve only “non-GMO” foods. In February, the lawsuit was dismissed based on the lead plaintiff’s failure to specify that she had purchased foods served by Chipotle in the categories alleged to be “GM” foods, i.e., meat, dairy, or soft drinks. As anticipated, the plaintiff has amended and re-filed her complaint to include allegations that she bought chicken and beef burritos with cheese, sour cream, and other condiments. She also reasserted her position that consumers understand terms such as “non-GMO” and “GMO-free” to mean that products are not sourced from any genetically engineered inputs, a concept broad enough to encompass the GM corn used to produce high fructose corn syrup or that is used to feed cows ultimately slaughtered for beef.
- As previously covered on this blog, Congress is considering competing federal GM labeling bills. The two “frontrunners” are the Biotechnology Food Labeling Uniformity Act — which would establish a mandatory federal GM labeling requirement, to be administered by FDA and the Biotech Labeling Solutions Act — which would establish a voluntary federal GM labeling framework, to be administered by USDA. As the latter bill heads to the Senate, sponsor Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) reportedly has indicated his willingness to work with senators on both sides of the aisle to strengthen the bill. Congressional action must happen swiftly if there is to be any meaningful clarity for the food industry prior to the July 1 effective date for Vermont’s GM labeling requirements.