According to the BBC, advocacy group Action on Sugar has called for restaurants to stop serving "freakshakes," milkshakes with added "chocolates, sweets, cake, cream and sauce." The group reportedly surveyed restaurants for nutritional information on their freakshakes and found that some contained as many as 1,280 calories, or "more than half the daily recommended amount of calories for an adult and over six times the amount of sugar recommended for seven to 10-year-olds." The group called on the U.K. government to "introduce legislation to force companies to be more transparent about what is in their products."

Russia has created a poultry-breeding program to reduce its dependence on meat imports, Bloomberg reports. The country has used Soviet technology—which created "a bigger and tastier version of Gallus gallus domesticus" that apparently nearly went extinct following the collapse of the government—to establish a program that aims to reduce foreign imports of food products. Bloomberg also notes that a "replacement program for potatoes" has been approved, while a program for sugar beets is in progress. "To our knowledge, no country has a large-scale poultry breeding program that competes with the major corporations," Bloomberg quotes a scientist with the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization as saying. “They thought we wouldn’t be able to compete with them in a million years,” one of the scientists who worked on the Soviet project reportedly told the news outlet. “Now it’s a completely different situation. Friends are friends, but you know how it goes.”

The European Court of Justice's Grand Chamber has determined that taste cannot be copyrighted in a lawsuit alleging copyright infringement of a cheese spread. Levola Hengelo BV v. Smilde Foods BV, No. C-310/17 (E.C.J., entered November 13, 2018). The court considered whether "taste" amounts to a work under copyright law. "[F]irst, the authorities responsible for ensuring that the exclusive rights inherent in copyright are protected must be able to identify, clearly and precisely, the subject matter so protected," the court stated. "The same is true for individuals, in particular economic operators, who must be able to identify, clearly and precisely, what is the subject matter of protection which third parties, especially competitors, enjoy. Secondly, the need to ensure that there is no element of subjectivity –– given that it is detrimental to legal certainty –– in the process of identifying the protected subject matter means that the latter must be…

A D.C. court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Deoleo USA Inc.'s "extra virgin" olive oil, finding that the plaintiff failed to state a claim. Fahey v. Deoleo USA Inc., No. 18-2047 (D.D.C., entered November 8, 2018). Deoleo settled a similar lawsuit in March 2018, and the plaintiff "apparently caught wind of this news," the court noted. "Six days after the settlement was publicized, he purchased a bottle of Bertolli EVOO … [and] filed suit some six weeks later." The court did not consider whether the plaintiff was bound by the terms of the settlement because it first found that the plaintiff failed to plead facts that could give rise to a right of relief. The plaintiff "marshals but one 'fact' to substantiate his claim that this defendant deceptively mislabeled the bottle of extra virgin olive [oil that the plaintiff] purchased in 2018: the results of a 2010 study on olive…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Vivaloe beverages are misleadingly marketed as naturally flavored because they contain malic acid. Anderson v. Outernational Brands Inc., No. 18-2550 (S.D. Cal., filed November 6, 2018). The complaint asserts that malic acid is "an inexpensive synthetic chemical used in processed food products to make the products taste like tangy fresh fruits" that "is not naturally-occurring but is in fact manufactured in petrochemical plants from benzene or butane—components of gasoline and lighter fluid, respectively—through a series of chemical reactions, some of which involve highly toxic chemical precursors and byproducts." The plaintiff admits that malic acid is generally recognized as safe for use as flavorings but argues that the d-malic form of malic acid "has never been extensively studied for its health effects in human beings." The plaintiff alleges violations of California consumer-protection statutes and seeks class certification, damages, attorney's fees and…

California residents voted to pass a measure that will require by 2022 that all eggs sold in the state come from cage-free hens. The measure also sets minimums on cage sizes for animals raised for pork and veal production, with calves requiring 43 square feet and pigs 24 square feet. The Legislative Analyst's Office reportedly found that the law will result in price increases for eggs, pork and veal and will cost California as much as $10 million per year to enforce.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the seizure of human and animal food products held by J and L Grocery LLC in insanitary conditions. A complaint filed in Arkansas federal court alleges that September and October 2018 FDA inspections "revealed insanitary conditions including multiple live and dead rodents, rodent nesting, live racoons, live cats, a dead possum, animal feces, and urine-stained products in and around the company’s seven warehouses and sheds used to store food, medical products and cosmetics." “The widespread insanitary conditions found at J and L Grocery is alarming and won’t be tolerated,” a press release quoted FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb as saying. “At this time, we’re unaware of adverse events associated with the use of products purchased at J and L Grocery. The work of our field force and the goals of our vigorous oversight efforts are to find these kinds of potential hazards…

A California federal court has granted partial summary judgment in a class action alleging Keurig Dr Pepper falsely marketed Canada Dry as "Made from Real Ginger." Fitzhenry-Russell v. Keurig Dr Pepper Inc., No. 17-0564 (N.D. Cal., entered November 2, 2018). The court considered the results of multiple consumer surveys aiming to determine whether a reasonable consumer would interpret "Made from Real Ginger" as describing a product that is made from ginger root or a product that is made from ginger oleoresin, a flavoring made from ginger root. The surveys determined that some respondents were confused about the source of the ginger flavor based on Canada Dry's marketing. Finding that an issue of material fact remains, the court denied the motion for summary judgment on that claim. The court then turned to allegations about whether Dr Pepper misled consumers about the levels of ginger in the product. "The label makes no…

A consumer asserts that Miyoko's Kitchen Inc.'s "vegan butter" misleads consumers into believing the product is "a 'form' of butter" despite lacking "any milk or dairy ingredients and the functional, nutritional, sensory and organoleptic attributes which consumers associate with butter." Brown v. Miyoko's Kitchen Inc., No. 18-6079 (E.D.N.Y., filed October 30, 2018). The products "bask in dairy's 'halo' by using familiar terms to invoke positive traits—including the significant levels of various nutrients typically associated with real dairy foods," the complaint alleges. The plaintiff argues that consumers "prefer butter over its imitators" because of its "unique and unduplicated taste," "mouthfeel" and "ability to enhance the texture of and other qualities of (mashed) potato products." "The plant-based Product is not butter because it is derived from coconut (lauric) oil and nut ingredients, among others, and lacks any fat derived from cow's milk," the plaintiff argues. The product meets U.S. Food and Drug…

A consumer has alleged that Iberia Foods misleads consumers by substituting giant squid for octopus in three of its octopus products. Zapata Fonseca v. Iberia Foods Corp., No. 18-6279 (E.D.N.Y., filed November 5, 2018). The plaintiff's putative class action asserts that Iberia and its supplier, Orbe, either knew or should have known that the products were not octopus, which the plaintiff purportedly discovered through third-party DNA testing. "Squid is significantly cheaper and of a lower quality than octopus," the complaint argues. "In fact, the squid undergoes a chemical treatment in order to make it more similar to octopus in its texture. This process also eliminates a very characteristic taste of the dosidicus gigas with chemical substances to obtain a neutral flavor. Additional testing has revealed that this bait-and-switch, and active concealment, is occurring throughout the Orbe Cross-Brand Octopus Products as well." For alleged violations of New York consumer-protection statutes and…

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