Cornell University has announced that the university's investigation into Brian Wansink's research methods has concluded. "Professor Wansink committed academic misconduct in his research and scholarship, including misreporting of research data, problematic statistical techniques, failure to properly document and preserve research results, and inappropriate authorship," the university's provost stated. "Professor Wansink has tendered his resignation and will be retiring from Cornell at the end of this academic year. He has been removed from all teaching and research. Instead, he will be obligated to spend his time cooperating with the university in its ongoing review of his prior research."

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has issued a statement on testing for Cyclospora as a foodborne pathogen. The statement noted that the testing methods allowed the agency to identify Cyclospora in cilantro, marking the first time it found the parasite in domestically grown produce. "We must continue to put in place science-based measures to prevent microbial contamination from occurring, and work with our state and foreign partners to implement the Produce Safety Rule," Gottlieb stated. "We’ve been working closely with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and our state partners to, among other things, train federal and state regulators who will conduct inspections slated to begin next spring, develop inventories of farms that are covered by the rule, put in place the Produce Safety Network to support the states and their farming communities regionally, conduct On Farm Readiness Reviews to help farmers assess their…

The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has determined that Green Chef Inc. cannot support some of its claims about organic food in its meal-kit deliveries, which it marketed as containing 90 percent or more organic ingredients. ERSP found that the use of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's organic seal "inaccurately communicated that Green Chef meal kits were entirely organic, or contained almost all organic ingredients." The board also found that Green Chef could not corroborate its claim that it delivered the most organic ingredients when compared to other meal-kit companies. Green Chef indicated that it would change its marketing and work with its certified-organic supplier to establish appropriate language.

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…

Whole Foods Market Inc. has reportedly obtained a restraining order against Direct Action Everywhere, an activist group that was apparently planning a "week-long occupation" of a Whole Foods location in Berkeley, California. The group has previously targeted the company with protests challenging its "free-range" labels on chicken and alleging its vendors treat animals inhumanely on factory farms. The California Superior Court of Alameda County has reportedly restrained any member of Direct Action Everywhere from entering the Berkeley Whole Foods.

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a law that will prohibit restaurants from giving patrons straws unless the patrons request them. Brown issued a signing statement indicating that the bill's purpose is to reduce plastic waste. "Ocean plastic is estimated to kill millions of marine animals each year," Brown states. "Nor are humans immune as microplastics were recently found in tap water around the world. Plastics, in all forms—straws, bottles, packaging, bags, etc.—are choking our planet. It is a very small step to make a customer who wants a plastic straw ask for it. And it might make them pause and think again about an alternative. But one thing is clear, we must find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate single-use plastic products."

The Council of Better Business Bureaus' Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) has announced an agreement among 18 companies to strengthen nutrition criteria for advertising to children under 12. Under the agreement, participating companies will not advertise food products to children unless the foods meet several updated standards, including reduced sodium levels. The standards will also limit "whole grain" labeling to those foods that "contribute a meaningful amount of whole grains" and limit nutrient-based qualifiers to "under-consumed" nutrients rather than "essential" nutrients. CFBAI also issued a white paper detailing the updated standards and the reasoning supporting each change. The implementation date is January 1, 2020, chosen to coincide with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's updated food-labeling regulations.

Two California courts have dismissed lawsuits brought by a competitor alleging kombucha companies misrepresented the amount of sugar and alcohol in their products. Tortilla Factory LLC v. Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha LLC, No. 18-2984 (C.D. Cal., entered September 11, 2018); Tortilla Factory LLC v. Better Booch LLC, No. 18-2980 (C.D. Cal., entered September 13, 2018). In April 2018, Tortilla Factory filed several lawsuits alleging that a number of its competitors, including Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha and Better Booch, misrepresent the alcohol and sugar content in their beverages in violation of federal law. The court in Rowdy Mermaid found that Tortilla Factory did not suffer an injury from Rowdy Mermaid's conduct; while the plaintiff argued that the companies are "vying for the same dollars from the same consumers," it failed to argue that "the two companies' products are sold in the same stores, through the same channels, or even in the same geographic…

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit alleging that Del Taco LLC failed to provide "a conciliation agreement acceptable to the Commission" following allegations of discriminatory practices against female employees. EEOC v. Del Taco LLC, No. 18-1978 (C.D. Cal., filed September 17, 2018). Allegations include sexual harassment of female employees by male shift leaders and general managers. The complaint asserts that after Del Taco was notified of the alleged harassment, it "failed to take prompt and effective remedial action reasonably calculated to end the harassment," including "failing to conduct an adequate investigation," "failing to adequately discipline harassing supervisors and/or coworkers," "failing to follow complaint procedures and take sexual harassment complaints seriously" and "actively deterring employees from making sexual harassment complaints." EEOC seeks class certification for the female employees and asks the court to compel Del Taco to "institute and carry out policies, practices, and programs to…

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has rejected a class member's objection to a settlement between Salov North America Corp. and a class of Filippo Berio olive-oil purchasers. Kumar v. Salov N. Am. Corp., No. 17-16405 (9th Cir., entered September 11, 2018). The appeals court held that the district court properly found the settlement "fair, reasonable, and adequate" after considering "the strength of the plaintiffs' case and the risk involved with further litigation."

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