A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging StarKist Co. misleads consumers by displaying the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Mark on its products. Warner v. StarKist Co., No. 18-0406 (N.D.N.Y., filed April 4, 2018). The complaint asserts, “Reasonable consumers see the Heart-Check Mark and mistakenly believe that a product with a Heart-Check Mark is healthier than a product without a Heart-Check Mark. In fact, a food manufacturer must pay the American Heart Association [] in order to place the Heart-Check Mark on its products. The Heart-Check Mark is a paid endorsement.” The plaintiff alleges that StarKist “takes advantage of health-conscious consumers who are looking for heart-healthy foods by manipulating them in to believing that Star-Kist’s products are more heart-healthy than products sold by other food manufacturers.” Alleging violations of New York’s consumer-protection statutes as well as unjust enrichment, the plaintiff seeks class certification, damages and attorney’s fees.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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