Category Archives 2nd Circuit

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Kind LLC misleadingly markets its products as made from whole fresh fruits. Song v. Kind LLC, No. 18-4982 (E.D.N.Y., filed September 4, 2018). The complaint asserts that the product names and descriptions "use collective names to refer to their components” because they are allegedly made from processed fruit, “by-products or processed derivative ingredients.” The plaintiff also argues that the visual representations on the packaging “emphasize their equivalence to whole fruits.” The complaint further asserts that tropical fruits used in the products are dried using osmotic dehydration, which purportedly treats the fruits with added sugars. In addition, the plaintiff alleges that Kind uses ascorbic acid as a preservative but does not list it among the ingredients. Claiming violations of New York’s General Business Law, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.

AriZona Beverages LLC faces a putative class action alleging it misleads consumers by representing the sugar and calorie content of its beverages based on a serving size of eight ounces while its product is sold in 16-ounce cans. Neville v. AriZona Beverages USA LLC, No. 18-5040 (E.D.N.Y., filed September 6, 2018). The complaint asserts that AriZona “engaged in unfair competition to the detriment of consumers by refusing to follow the industry standard which is based upon the size of a can or bottle that a consumer would usually drink in one sitting.” Alleging violations of several state consumer-protection statutes and breach of express warranty, the plaintiff seeks class certification, damages, injunctive or declaratory relief, restitution and attorney’s fees.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a complaint alleging Foo Yuan Food Products Co. Inc. distributes seafood products contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium botulinum. According to DOJ’s press release, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected the facility several times and documented “significant deficiencies” during each inspection, including the alleged “failure to maintain the cleanliness of food contact sources” and “failure to ensure that all persons working in direct contact with food, food contact surfaces and food-packing materials conformed to hygienic practices to protect against food contamination.” “The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that food processors comply with laws designed to ensure food safety,” an attorney for DOJ said in a press release. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with the FDA to ensure that Americans are protected from potentially unsafe food.”

A New York federal court has dismissed a putative slack-fill class action against Tootsie Roll Industries, finding that the packaging of Junior Mints contains sufficient information for consumers to determine its volume and that “[t]he law simply does not provide the level of coddling plaintiffs seek. ... The court declines to enshrine into the law an embarrassing level of mathematical illiteracy." Daniel v. Tootsie Roll Industries LLC, No. 17-7541 (S.D.N.Y., entered August 1, 2018). The court found that “consumers can easily calculate the number of candies contained in the Product boxes simply by multiplying the serving size by the number of servings in each box, information displayed in the nutritional facts section on the back of each box.” In addition, the court rejected arguments that consumers depend on the size of the candies as shown on the package. Moreover, the court found that the plaintiffs did not show that the…

Diamond Foods LLC faces a putative class action alleging Kettle Foods potato chips are marketed as “Made with Natural Ingredients” and “No Preservatives” but contain citric acid. Mason v. Diamond Foods LLC, No. 18-6423 (S.D.N.Y., filed July 16, 2018). The complaint identifies several flavors of chips that allegedly contain the “synthetic compound,” purportedly produced from mold strains and sulfuric acid. Claiming violations of several states' consumer-protection statutes, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, breach of warranties and common law fraud, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Florida’s Natural Orange Juice is not “natural” because it is “highly processed” and contains pesticide residues. Axon v. Citrus World Inc., No. 18-4162 (E.D.N.Y., filed July 20, 2018). The complaint alleges that Citrus Inc. markets Florida’s Natural with illustrations on the packaging of “green leaves and orange blossoms as well as fresh-sliced oranges with juice visibly dripping from the fruit,” which conveys to consumers that “the juice is in fact natural and similar in result if consumers had squeezed the oranges themselves.” For alleged violations of New York’s consumer-protection statutes, the plaintiff seeks class certification, damages, restitution and attorney’s fees.

A New York federal court has dismissed some allegations in a lawsuit alleging Whole Foods Market Group Inc. and Freshbev LLC mislabeled juice products but will allow three claims to proceed. Campbell v. Freshbev LLC, No. 16-7119 (E.D.N.Y., entered July 2, 2018). The plaintiff alleged that the companies mislabeled the juices as unpasteurized, cold-pressed and fresh and that Ripe Craft Juice 12.2 Northeast Blend Cranberry Apple contained more apple juice than cranberry in the blend. The court dismissed the allegation that the "cold-pressed" labels were misleading because the juices are subjected to high-pressure processing, finding that a "reasonable consumer would not mistake the cold-pressed claim to be a claim that pressure was never applied to the juice products." The court permitted three state-law claims related to the "fresh" labels, the "unpasteurized" label on cranberry juice, and the "Cranberry Apple" juice ingredients to continue but dismissed claims for injunctive relief and fraud.

Campbell Soup Co. faces a putative class action alleging that it deceptively markets its soups as having "No Preservatives Added" or being "Made With Patience, Not Preservatives" despite containing citric acid, ascorbic acid or other preservatives. Cabrega v. Campbell Soup Co., No. 18-3827 (E.D.N.Y., filed July 2, 2018). The complaint alleges that such statements violate consumer-protection statutes nationwide and are common law fraud. The plaintiffs seek class certification, damages, corrective advertising, injunctive relief and attorney's fees.

Utz Quality Foods LLC and Good Health Natural Products Inc. face a potential class action alleging that the companies replaced a blend of vegetable-derived ingredients with synthetic additives in their Extra Goodness! products, including vegetable straws and chips. Feldman v. Utz Quality Foods, LLC, No. 18-6004 (S.D.N.Y., filed July 3, 2018). The complaint alleges that the companies deceptively marketed and misbranded the snacks, which were previously made with a proprietary blend of spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets and shiitake mushrooms. The plaintiff contends that Utz and Good Health stopped buying the blend in December 2016 and replaced it with a "cheaper synthetic blend" but did not update the ingredient list for more than a year. Moreover, the plaintiff contends that the current product does not contain "significant amounts of the vegetables or vegetable-derived vitamins depicted, and are not healthful." Claiming deceptive acts or practices, false advertising, breach of warranties and unjust enrichment,…

A consumer has filed a lawsuit alleging that the packaging for Chicago Bar Co.'s RXBAR misleads consumers about the ingredients of the product. Pizzirusso v. Chicago Bar Co., No. 18-3529 (E.D.N.Y., filed June 15, 2018). RXBAR and RXBAR Kids products feature a list of ingredients on the front of the package—for example, the blueberry flavor's packaging reads, "3 Egg Whites, 6 Almonds, 4 Cashews, 2 Dates, No B.S."—with an additional ingredient list on the back of the package. According to the complaint, both lists obscure the actual ingredients; rather than egg whites, the plaintiff argues, RXBARs contain egg white protein powder, which a previous version of the packaging allegedly named. "[P]arents correctly wouldn't want to buy their young children foods which contained concentrated protein powders, for a variety of reasons related to normal adolescent and child development," the plaintiff argues. Further, the "fruit pieces incorporated into the Products are 'infused' (flavored)…

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