Bai Fruit Drinks Sued Over ‘All-Natural’ Labeling (subscription to Law360 required)

  • A national putative class action lawsuit (with proposed in-state subclass) was filed in California federal court on April 19, 2018 against Bai Brands, LLC alleging violation of California’s Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Unfair Competition Law, and common law, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) regulations.  The plaintiff alleges that Bai Brands falsely advertised fruit drinks as ‘natural’ and did not disclose malic acid, alleged to be a synthetic flavor used to mimic fresh fruit, on front of package labeling.  (Branca v. Bai Brands, LLC, 3:18-cv-00757).
  • Natural lawsuits continue to proliferate despite court ordered stays being granted in several challenges due to pending FDA action.  As previously covered on this blog, FDA is considering whether to regulate the term “natural,” having collected 7,687 comments in 2016 on use of the term ‘natural’ on human food labeling.
  • Commissioner Scott Gottlieb acknowledged the lack of clarity on the meaning of ‘natural’  in March 29, 2018 remarks at the National Food Policy Conference in Washington, DC and said FDA “will have more to say on the issue soon.”  It remains to be seen how long courts will continue to wait for FDA to act.