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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…

Representing a group of three consumers, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo, Inc. alleging the company’s Naked line misleads consumers by naming and labeling its juices with foods “perceived by consumers to be highly nutritious, like kale,” but manufacturing the products without “the ingredient profile represented.” Lipkind v. PepsiCo, Inc., No. 16-5506 (E.D.N.Y., filed October 4, 2016). “Consumers are paying higher prices for the healthful and expensive ingredients advertised on Naked labels, such as berries, cherries, kale and other greens, and mango,” said CSPI Litigation Director Maia Kats in an October 4, 2016, press release. “But consumers are predominantly getting apple juice, or in the case of Kale Blazer, orange and apple juice. They’re not getting what they paid for.” The complaint asserts Naked products “predominantly consist of cheaper and less nutritious ingredients like apple juice” and targets the label’s “no…

A consumer has filed a purported class action against PepsiCo and subsidiary Izze Beverage Co. alleging Izze carbonated juice drinks are misleadingly marketed as containing “no preservatives” despite the presence of citric or ascorbic acid. Lindberg v. PepsiCo Inc., No. 16-6569 (S.D.N.Y., filed August 19, 2016). The complaint also challenges Izze’s claim that each bottle “delivers two servings of fruit based on [U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s)] 2010 Dietary Guidelines,” which is misleading because “the USDA did away with this measure of servings in its 2010 Guidelines precisely because it misleads consumers about how much of various food groups they should eat or drink.” The plaintiff asserts the dietary guidelines claim is also misleading because it “falsely suggests that Izze Sodas contain the nutritional value and health benefits that can be obtained by eating fruit. Whole fruit contains fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Even if Izze Sodas were originally manufactured with…

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has threatened to bring lawsuits against Plum Organics and Gerber Products Co. for allegedly deceptive trade practices in the marketing and labeling of their food products for babies and toddlers. In its May 11, 2015, letter addressed to Gerber and its parent company Nestlé S.A., CSPI notes that the company labels several of its products in the 2nd Foods, 3rd Foods and Graduates lines “as being composed of certain healthful ingredients, when, in fact, the Products contain substantial amounts of other less healthful, less valuable ingredients, such as apple juice, that are not identified at all on the [principal display panel].” Similar allegations appear in the letter addressed to the heads of Plum Organics concerning the company’s baby food and 4 Essential lines. The letters assert that both companies market the products as containing high amounts of “healthful, high-value ingredients, such…

A California federal court has approved the proposed settlement in a class action alleging that Jamba Juice® mislabels its smoothie kits as “all natural” despite containing synthetic ingredients gelatin, xanthan gum, ascorbic acid, steviol glycosides, and modified corn starch. Lilly v. Jamba Juice Co., No. 13-2998 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., settlement approved March 18, 2015). The December 2014 proposed settlement was reached three months after the court certified the class for liability but not for damages. Under the agreement, Jamba Juice® will remove “all natural” on the product packaging and the company website by March 31, 2015. Additional information about the settlement appears in Issue 547 of this Update.   Issue 559

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