Tag Archives: CLASS ACTION

Flavored Sparkling Water, LaCroix, Sued Over Natural Claims

A class action lawsuit filed by Lenora Rice in Cook County, Illinois alleges that LaCroix manufacturer, National Beverage Corp, falsely markets its popular flavored sparkling water as “all natural.” The complaint states that LaCroix sparkling waters are “manufactured using non-natural flavorings and synthetic compounds,” but are labeled as “all natural” and “always 100% natural.” Specifically, LaCroix is … Continue Reading

Putative Class Action Challenge to Diet Dr. Pepper in California Fails for the Fourth Time

The Federal District Court for the Northern District of California has granted Dr. Pepper/Seven Up, Inc.’s Motion to Dismiss (available for purchase here) in a putative class action originally filed in October 2017, which alleged that the marketing of Diet Dr. Pepper violated California’s False Advertising Law, Consumer Legal Remedies Act, and Unfair Competition Law, … Continue Reading

CA Judge Certifies Class in Kellogg False Advertising Cereal Lawsuit (Law360 Subscription Required)

On August 17, 2018, a California federal judge certified three classes of consumers who allege that Kellogg falsely advertises its Raisin Bran, Frosted Mini-Wheats, and Smart Start cereals as healthy. The 51-page order granting the motion for class certification found claims that Kellogg misled consumers about the sugar contents of its cereals can be resolved … Continue Reading

Is Pet Food the Next Front for “Natural” Lawsuits?

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Rachel Ray’s Nutrish dog food brand, alleging that “natural” claims were false and misleading under state consumer protection laws, based on testing that showed the presence of glyphosate residues. Glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup®, is an EPA-approved herbicide that is used on food crops, including crops that have … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Denial of Injunctive Relief Where Named Plaintiff Concedes She Would Not Purchase Allegedly Mislabeled Tea in the Future

9th Circ. OKs Toss Of Twinings Tea Antioxidant Case – Law360 (subscription to Law360 required) Seeking injunctive relief in consumer class action cases requires the plaintiff to show there is a threat of future harm.  A recent decision emphasizes the difficulty that a plaintiff can face when she concedes she will not purchase the contested … Continue Reading

GM Labeling Update: Ingredient Disclosure Debate

As previously reported on this blog, legislation requiring labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods and food ingredients was signed into law on July 29, 2016.  This law directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop regulations and standards to create mandatory disclosure requirements for bio-engineered foods by July 2018. On June 28, 2017, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) posted a … Continue Reading

New “Natural” Lawsuit Targets Sanderson Farms’ “100 Percent Natural” Chicken

A leading poultry producer has been sued over “natural” claims on its chicken products.  (subscription to Law360 required) Americans’ increasing appetite for clean label, ethically-raised foods has resulted in the continued proliferation of consumer advocacy litigation targeting “natural” claims for products containing synthetic ingredients or preservatives.  Adding fuel to the continued uptick in “natural” litigation … Continue Reading

Kraft Motion to Dismiss ‘All Natural’ Lawsuit

Kraft seeks to end ‘all-natural’ sour cream labeling suit (subscription to Law360 required) Kraft Heinz Foods Co. (Kraft) asked the court (the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York) to dismiss a putative class action over claims the “All Natural” label on its Breakstone’s sour cream is misleading because the sour cream … Continue Reading

Natural Challenge Stayed

Court places “natural” challenge on hold pending FDA action (subscription to Law 360 required) As the food industry is well aware, lawsuits challenging “natural” claims continue to proliferate nationwide. Many challenges have focused on the presence or use of synthetic ingredients or processing aids in products positioned as “all-natural” or “100% natural.” For example, Kraft Foods … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Neutralizers

Ninth Circuit puts food labeling challenge on hold pending FDA action. As food industry stakeholders are well aware, “natural” claims invite the risk of consumer class action challenges in the absence of any formal regulatory definition or regime to govern the use of the term.  Similarly, food companies also have faced challenges related to the use of … Continue Reading

GM Updates: Chipotle & Congress

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 … Continue Reading

Court Curbs Chipotle Case

Chipotle dodges non-GM class action lawsuit…for now.  (subscription to Law360 required) In 2015, Chipotle Mexican Grill launched a nationwide advertising campaign premised on the chain’s pledge to serve food made only with non-genetically modified (GM) ingredients.  However, the company continued to serve meat and dairy products from animals that consume GM crops, as well as beverages with … Continue Reading

Organic Challenges OK

California Supreme Court ruling opens door to “organic” labeling challenges.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates organic production in the United States under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA).  USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) has promulgated a series of regulations that define the criteria for organic production, labeling, and certification.  Thus — unlike … Continue Reading

Postscripts

Parties settle “Made in USA” lawsuit in California. (subscription to Law360 required) As previously covered on this blog, a product may bear a “Made in USA”-type (MIU) claim in accordance with federal guidelines where “all or virtually all” of the product is made in the U.S.  Until a recent statutory change, California’s MIU claim standard had been … Continue Reading

Naturally Modified

Food producer settles class action lawsuit involving “all natural” claims for cooking oil made from GM crops. Challenges to “natural” claims continue to proliferate in court rooms across the United States, with many cases targeting “natural” claims for products derived from genetically modified (GM) crops.  FDA’s informal policy is that “natural” means nothing artificial (including artificial … Continue Reading

Labeling Lawsuits: The Devil is in the Details?

Judge dismisses class action lawsuit, ruling that even prominent pictorial label representations may not necessarily mislead.  (subscription to Law360 required) Much debate exists about the extent to which graphic or pictorial representations on food labels may or may not deceive consumers as to product composition.  In a case filed recently in the “Food Court” (Northern District … Continue Reading

Plaintiff Plausibility

Judge dismisses majority of claims in class action lawsuit due to implausible assertions by plaintiff. (subscription to Law360 required) As the food industry is well aware, the “Food Court” (i.e., the Northern District of California) handles a significant amount of litigation related to “natural” claims and other food marketing and advertising issues.  In one recent … Continue Reading

G M Oh-no

Chipotle sued over its allegedly deceptive non-GM advertising campaign. As covered on our blog earlier this year, Chipotle Mexican Grill launched a nationwide advertising campaign premised on the chain’s pledge to serve food made only with non-genetically modified (GM) ingredients.  The company included caveats on its website to indicate that meat and dairy products may come from … Continue Reading

PHOs: Pause for Primary Jurisdiction

California federal judge finds plausible state law cause of action, but stays trans fat lawsuit pending FDA’s consideration of PHO petition. (subscription to Law360 required) As previously covered on this blog, class action lawsuits have been filed in the wake of FDA’s determination (tentative in 2013, final as of June 2015) that there is no … Continue Reading

Serial Plaintiff Shutdown

Judge dismisses proposed class action lawsuit filed by “serial plaintiff.” (subscription to Law360 required) As previously covered on this blog, a lawsuit was filed in the “Food Court” in which the plaintiff alleged that that the presence of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) in defendant’s noodle products may violate California law.  The judge found “plausible allegations” … Continue Reading

Cane Juice Conundrum Continues

FDA states that it will issue “evaporated cane juice” guidance by the end of 2016.  For the past several years, food companies have faced putative class action lawsuits related to the use of the term “evaporated cane juice” (ECJ) on product labels.  Various lawsuits have alleged that the term violates federal and state laws, citing as support a 2009 FDA … Continue Reading

PHO Plaintiffs

Lawsuit proceeds on the premise that the use of PHOs in foods may violate California law. (subscription to Law360 required) As previously covered on this blog, FDA recently issued a final determination stating that there is no longer a consensus among qualified experts that partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) under any … Continue Reading

Oh, PHOoey

Two major food manufacturers face class action lawsuits for using artificial trans fats in processed foods. (subscription to Law360 required) Artificial trans fats are substances created by the addition of hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.  The primary source of dietary trans fats in processed food is “partially hydrogenated oils” or … Continue Reading
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