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A New Jersey federal court has denied class certification to a group of consumers alleging that Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice was mislabeled and misbranded because the maker adds natural flavoring to the product in violation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's standard of identity for pasteurized orange juice. In re Tropicana Orange Juice Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., No. 11-7382 (D.N.J., entered January 22, 2018). The court ruled that the plaintiffs’ unjust enrichment, express warranty and New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act claims required individualized proof; thus, individual issues predominated over those of the class. In addition, the plaintiffs were unable to demonstrate that the proposed class was ascertainable—in particular, the court found, it was unclear whether any of the “dozens, if not hundreds of retailers” could confirm with certainty whether they possessed consumer data for the class period. If a consumer purchased the juice from a retailer that…

A consumer has filed a projected class action alleging Ocean Spray Cranberries’ CranGrape and CranApple juice products contain artificial flavorings despite bearing “No High Fructose Corn Syrup, Artificial Colors or Flavors" labels. Hilsley v. Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc., No. 17-2335 (S.D. Cal., removed to federal court November 16, 2017). Originally filed in San Diego County, the complaint alleges that CranApple contains synthetic dl-malic acid made from petrochemicals but lists “malic acid”—a generic term that can be used to describe a "naturally occurring compound"—on the label. The plaintiff further alleges that CranGrape contains fumaric acid, also synthesized from petrochemicals, and that both fumaric and malic acid are used to enhance flavor. Claiming violations of California’s consumer-protection statutes as well as breach of warranties, the plaintiff seeks class certification, disgorgement, restitution, punitive damages, injunctive relief, corrective advertising and attorney’s fees.

Forager Project faces a putative class action alleging that its "cold-pressed" juices undergo a second, high-pressure processing, allegedly amounting to misrepresentation on the product labeling. Berger v. Forager Project, LLC, No. 17-6302 (E.D.N.Y., filed October 28, 2017) The plaintiff asserts that after the juices are cold-pressed and bottled, Forager subjects the bottles to high-pressure treatment that reduces “the biological, enzymatic and bacterial activity which existed after cold-pressing to an extent that is material to reasonable consumers.” In addition, the plaintiff alleges that Forager does not disclose this second step on its labeling, misleading consumers who want cold-pressed juice because of its “greater integrity in composition than if it were made through a centrifugal machine.” The complaint further argues that the name “Forager Project” contributes to consumer deception because “[f]oraging has traditionally referred to the gathering of food from the natural, undisturbed environment.” Claiming violations of New York consumer-protection law, false advertising,…

Green Crush, a retailer selling juice, smoothie and aguas frescas beverages, has filed a lawsuit alleging that a former Green Crush manager and a former contractor engaged in corporate espionage, asserting that they used the chain’s proprietary information and infringed its trademarks and trade dress to start a competing company. Green Crush, LLC v. Paradise Splash 1, Inc., No. 17-1856 (C.D. Cal., filed October 23, 2017). The complaint alleges that the manager frequently asked senior Green Crush employees about “distribution operations, specific equipment, detailed drink ingredients, the design, placement, setting and layout of drink containers and cups, and the process and recipes used” before leaving to start a competing juice store. Further, Green Crush argues, the manager and contractor solicited Green Crush employees to work for them; allegedly, some of those employees asked “if the store under construction was a [Green Crush] store because it looked just like one.” Seeking…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging the Hain Celestial Group's “ColdPressed” juice products are mislabeled because a third-party company, which manufactures some of the product, heats the juice during high-pressure processing, causing a “compositional change." Davis v. Hain Celestial Grp., No. 17- 5191 (E.D.N.Y., filed September 3, 2017). The complaint challenges two product lines, BluePrint ColdPressed Juice and BluePrint Organic fruit drinks, which the plaintiff claims are represented as “raw and organic” and “never heated.” The plaintiff asserts that high-pressure processing heats the juice, causing changes in the “microbial, enzymatic and bacterial activity and intact cellular structures,” resulting in the products no longer being raw or fresh. Claiming violations of New York consumer protection laws along with fraudulent misrepresentation, implied warranty of merchantability and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.

A consumer has filed a putative class action against PepsiCo alleging that Naked Juice products are mislabeled as “cold pressed” because they also undergo high-pressure processing, “render[ing] the composition of the final product distinct from the intermediate, cold pressed product.” Davis v. PepsiCo, No. 17-4551 (E.D.N.Y., filed August 2, 2017). The complaint alleges that Naked Juice’s “Naked Pressed” product line, which includes nine fruit and vegetable juice blends, are cold pressed but then subjected to high hydraulic pressure, causing the temperature of the juice to rise, degrading “enzymatic, biological and cellular activity” and diminishing overall nutrient content. The plaintiff also asserts that a food product name is intended to refer to a final product, not the product that exists at an “intermediate” stage of manufacturing. Claiming violations of New York consumer-protection laws, fraudulent misrepresentation, implied warranty of merchantability and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.  

World Waters, maker of WTRMLN WTR, faces a proposed class action alleging its product labeling misleads consumers into believing that the products contain mostly watermelon juice and that the beverages are “cold-pressed” rather than heat-pasteurized. Pizzirusso v. World Waters, No. 17-4071 (E.D.N.Y., filed July 8, 2017). The plaintiff first asserts that World Water “overstates” the amount of watermelon in the mixed-fruit juice beverages. The complaint further alleges that although World Waters uses “Cold Pressed” and “Cold Pressured” to describe its products and claims on its website that the beverages are not pasteurized, the cold-pressure process heats the juices in a manner comparable to pasteurization; in addition, similar products produced by competitors apparently bear the term “High Pressure Processed.” Alleging violations of New York consumer protection laws, breach of warranty, unjust enrichment and fraud, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.   Issue 641

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has announced new recommendations limiting the amount of fruit juice that children consume to reduce the risk of obesity and dental caries. Whole fruit is preferable to fruit juice for nutrition and healthy weight gain, the group stated, because 100 percent juice is mostly water, with small amounts of vitamins and minerals and no fiber. The recommendations further specify that infants should not have fruit juice at all during their first year, and toddlers should be limited to 4 ounces a day. AAP also recommends that juices be pasteurized to reduce the risk of E. coli, Salmonella and Cryptosporidium.   Issue 636

The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint about the “About Us” section of its website for Appy Food & Drinks, which contained a claim that all of the advertiser’s juice drinks were “100% natural” despite containing calcium lactate and glucose-­fructose syrup. Appy Foods asserted that calcium lactate is a salt obtained through a natural fermentation process and occurs naturally in dairy products, and glucose-fructose syrup is obtained through hydrolysis of cornstarch, also a natural process. The watchdog agency reviewed Appy’s production processes and found that Appy did not provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the calcium lactate production process was “natural,” and further that the glucose­-fructose syrup was produced by the addition of an enzyme isomerase to the cornstarch, a “non-­traditional” treatment falling outside the definition of “natural” in the Food Standards Agency guidelines. Because the Appy juice drinks were not “single foods,” the ASA decided that the…

Responding to food manufacturers’ requests, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published industry guidance to clarify when fruit and vegetable juices “may be used as color additives for foods without additional premarket review and approval from the agency under its color additive petition process.” Under current regulations, the agency provides that “the safety of fruit juice and vegetable juice as color additives for use in food is assured by the fact that the fruit or vegetable from which the color additive is derived has been safely consumed as food, such that there would not be safety concerns in using the juice or water soluble color components from the fruit or vegetable as a color additive.” In particular, FDA clarifies what it means by the terms “fruit,” “vegetable,” “mature,” “fresh,” and “edible,” as well as “expressing the juice” and “water infusion of the dried fruit or vegetable.” The agency…

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