• On Monday Campbell Soup Company was hit with a class-action lawsuit (Law360 subscription required) which alleged that the company’s V8 line of products are deceptively labeled and mislead consumers into thinking that the products are “wholesome, naturally-flavored, healthful fruit-juice beverages for kids,” when in fact they are allegedly “almost entirely water and high fructose corn syrup, artificially flavored to taste like fruit juice.”
  • Based on the ingredient lists, Plaintiffs allege that products contain at most 1-2% of the fruit and berries on the labels, and in some cases, none at all. Citing to Campbell’s own online statements, Plaintiffs also allege that the products contains synthetic malic acid which is used for flavor.
  • The products depict various fruits on the principal display panel with characterizing flavor statements such as “berry flavored . . . with other natural flavor.” Under the flavor labeling regulations in 21 CFR 101.22(i), the characterizing flavor must be labeled as “artificially flavored” or “artificial” if it contains any artificial flavor which “simulates, resembles, or reinforces the characterizing flavor.” Defendant is likely to argue that the malic acid is used as a “flavor enhancer” (supplementing a taste or aroma without imparting its own taste or aroma) and not a “flavoring agent” (imparting its own taste or aroma).
  • Plaintiffs also allege that the products are deceptively labeled as sources of antioxidants and vitamins, where in fact these nutrients are alleged to be randomly added in violation of FDA’s fortification policy and in amounts that are negligible in comparison to real fruit juice.
  • We will continue to monitor and report on this and other litigation in the food industry.