Category Archives 2nd Circuit

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…

A consumer has alleged that Apple & Eve markets its Switch Sparkling Juices as containing no added sugar or preservatives despite containing citric and ascorbic acids and having a "high calorie count when compared to competitors' products that do not have the 'No Sugar Added' claim." Reaves v. Apple & Eve LLC, No. 18-5728 (E.D.N.Y., filed October 12, 2018). The complaint asserts that consumers believe the juices to be "a low-calorie product" because of the "no sugar added" marketing message. "Consumers associate claims about the absence of sugar with lower calorie counts when there is no disclaimer stating otherwise," the complaint alleges. "The [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] has reached the same conclusion: 'Consumers may reasonably be expected to regard terms that represent that the food contains no sugars or sweeteners e.g., 'sugar free,' or 'no sugar,' as indicating a product which is low in calories or significantly reduced in…

A plaintiff has filed a putative class action alleging Iberia Foods Corp. misleads consumers by selling its oil as Extra Virgin Olive Oil despite containing 80 percent sunflower oil. Okoe v. Iberia Foods Corp., No. 18-9161 (S.D.N.Y., filed October 5, 2018). The front label of the product, the complaint alleges, features a dark green background with the phrase "Sunflower Oil &" in black text and "Extra Virgin Olive Oil" in gold, allegedly causing the sunflower oil disclosure to be "barely distinguishable from the background" and "readily overlooked by consumers." The plaintiff cites a number of sources—including the BBC, Quora, activationproducts.com and finecooking.com—to assert that sunflower oil is less desirable to consumers than extra virgin olive oil because of the purported health benefits of the latter. For allegations of fraud and violations of New York consumer-protection statutes, the plaintiff seeks class certification, damages, an injunction and attorney's fees.

Three consumers have filed a putative class action alleging that Arizona Beverage Co.’s teas, energy drinks and fruit juices are misleadingly marketed as containing “no preservatives” despite containing citric and ascorbic acids. Kubilius v. Arizona Beverage Co., No. 18-9075 (S.D.N.Y., filed October 3, 2018). The plaintiffs assert that they paid a premium for the products believing them to be preservative-free but later discovered that the products contain citric and ascorbic acid, which allegedly “serve as preservatives by functioning as sequestrants, removing compounds and elements from their environment so as to slow the degradation of food and beverages.” The complaint also cites a declaration from a food scientist who asserts that “while citric acid and ascorbic acid can also be employed by a manufacturer that intends to impart taste, a greater quantity of these substances is required to impart taste than to preserve foods and beverages. … Even if imparting taste…

A New York federal court has dismissed allegations from a putative class action arguing that Pret A Manger Ltd. sold sandwich wraps with excess slack fill between the wrap's halves. Lau v. Pret A Manger (USA) Ltd., No. 17-5775 (S.D.N.Y., entered September 28, 2018). The court held that the plaintiffs lacked standing for an injunction despite their argument that they would consider purchasing the wraps in the future, finding "no sufficient basis for inferring that plaintiffs would ever seek to purchase a Pret wrap again as long as the status quo persists." The court also disagreed with the plaintiffs' argument that the slack fill in the wraps amounted to an intent to defraud consumers. "Specifically, plaintiffs state that less than half, or 45 percent, or Pret wraps surveyed contained slack-fill," the court noted. "Drawing all reasonable inferences in plaintiffs' favor, the Court finds that the facts are insufficient to nudge…

A New York federal court has dismissed a putative class action alleging that Dunkin' Brands Inc. misled consumers by marketing a sandwich and a wrap as containing "Angus steak." Chen v. Dunkin' Brands, Inc., No. 17-3808 (E.D.N.Y., entered September 17, 2018). The court first dismissed the claims brought by a non-resident of New York, finding it did not have jurisdiction to consider them. The court also dismissed the resident plaintiff's breach-of-warranty allegation under the Magnuson-Moss Act, holding that the description "Angus beef" is "'at most' a 'product description,' not a written warranty." Turning to the state-law claim of deceptive practices, the court disagreed with the plaintiff's argument that a reasonable consumer would interpret "Angus steak" as "an intact cut of meat," finding that the television commercials show "zoomed-in pictures of the sandwich and wrap, with ground-meat patties." The plaintiff also asserted that the beef patties contained additives and preservatives, which…

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.”

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