Tag Archives labeling

As part of a climate package, Denmark has reportedly proposed food labels that would indicate the environmental impact of the food's production. Danish Minister for the Environment Lars Christian Lilleholt reportedly told The Local, "We want to give consumers the means to assess in supermarkets the environmental impact of products." The Danish Agriculture & Food Council supported the measure but suggested that the environmental impact labels may need to consider the nutritional value of a product as well. "A bottle of soda may have a low environmental impact, but it is not a product you can live on," the organization's director is quoted as saying.

Consumers have filed lawsuits alleging that companies misrepresent their products as "natural" because they contain d-malic acid. One lawsuit targets Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., alleging it mislabels its juices as free from artificial flavors despite containing d-malic acid rather than the naturally occurring l-malic acid. Froio v. Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., No. 18-12005 (D. Mass., filed September 24, 2018). The complaint further alleges that the juices contain furmaric acid, which is "manufactured from petrochemical feedstock, either benzene or butane, through chemical transformation to maleic anhydride." The plaintiffs argue that a "reasonable consumer understands Defendant's claims that the Products contain no 'artificial' flavoring to mean that the flavoring is derived from a natural source." For allegations of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and violations of New York and Massachusetts consumer-protection statutes, the plaintiffs seek class certification, damages, injunctive relief, restitution and attorney's fees. Two consumers have alleged that Neurobrands LLC also…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Stremick's Heritage Foods misrepresents its  Kern's juice as a "healthful, natural juice product made solely from fresh fruits" despite being "almost entirely sugar-water, with a small amount of fruit juice added for color and texture." Levin v. Stremick's Heritage Foods, No. 18-1748 (C.D. Cal., filed September 26, 2018). The complaint alleges that the juices "consist of 70% water and high fructose corn syrup, topped with 30% or less of the juice of the fruit for which the Products are named." The complaint also alleges that "pictorial representations" of "life-like" fruits on the packaging mislead consumers about the beverages' juice content. The plaintiff further argues that the products contain "massive amounts of refined sugar. The 'Apricot Nectar' Product, for example, contains 47 grams of sugar per serving—more than Grape Kool-Aid." According to the complaint, the juices are not healthful because excess…

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.

According to the New York Times, Chinese regulators have announced that rainbow trout can be sold as salmon within the country. Rainbow trout and salmon are closely related, the China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance found, and the breeds have apparently been sold interchangeably for several years. Because rainbow trout is cultivated in freshwater, consumers reportedly worry about the threat of parasites, which salmon cultivated in saltwater is less likely to carry. The regulators noted that markets and restaurants must list the species of fish and its origin on the label, such as “salmon (Atlantic salmon)” or “salmon (rainbow trout).”

A California federal court has denied a motion to dismiss a putative class action alleging deceptive labeling and advertising of Yogi Green Tea Kombucha, ruling that whether a reasonable consumer believes that kombucha should contain live organisms is a question of fact. Cohen v. East West Tea Co. LLC, No. 17-2339 (S.D. Cal., entered August 2, 2018). The plaintiff alleged that East West Tea falsely labels and advertises its product as kombucha because it purportedly contains no “live organisms." The court found that the parties' definitions of “kombucha” differ and that a reasonable consumer may or may not expect to find live organisms in kombucha. Whether a practice is deceptive is not a matter to be resolved by a motion to dismiss, the court held, noting “mixed case law on whether ambiguity regarding the definition of a word merits a motion to dismiss.”

The Center for Food Safety and the Center for Environmental Health have filed a lawsuit alleging that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) failed to comply with mandatory deadlines established by the 2016 Federal Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standards Act, which would require labeling of foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Ctr. for Food Safety v. Perdue, No. 18-4633 (N.D. Cal., filed August 1, 2018). The act's statutory deadline for the completion of final regulations implementing the statute and establishing the national disclosure standard was July 29, 2018. The complaint alleges that “[t]he statute preempted state laws requiring [genetic engineering (GE)] labeling, but until USDA issues the regulations, the statute is an empty vessel: there can be no federally required disclosures.” “Due to the lack of mandatory labeling, many American consumers are under an incorrect assumption as to whether the food they purchase is produced with GE,” the plaintiffs allege.…

A New York federal court has dismissed some allegations in a lawsuit alleging Whole Foods Market Group Inc. and Freshbev LLC mislabeled juice products but will allow three claims to proceed. Campbell v. Freshbev LLC, No. 16-7119 (E.D.N.Y., entered July 2, 2018). The plaintiff alleged that the companies mislabeled the juices as unpasteurized, cold-pressed and fresh and that Ripe Craft Juice 12.2 Northeast Blend Cranberry Apple contained more apple juice than cranberry in the blend. The court dismissed the allegation that the "cold-pressed" labels were misleading because the juices are subjected to high-pressure processing, finding that a "reasonable consumer would not mistake the cold-pressed claim to be a claim that pressure was never applied to the juice products." The court permitted three state-law claims related to the "fresh" labels, the "unpasteurized" label on cranberry juice, and the "Cranberry Apple" juice ingredients to continue but dismissed claims for injunctive relief and fraud.

Utz Quality Foods LLC and Good Health Natural Products Inc. face a potential class action alleging that the companies replaced a blend of vegetable-derived ingredients with synthetic additives in their Extra Goodness! products, including vegetable straws and chips. Feldman v. Utz Quality Foods, LLC, No. 18-6004 (S.D.N.Y., filed July 3, 2018). The complaint alleges that the companies deceptively marketed and misbranded the snacks, which were previously made with a proprietary blend of spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets and shiitake mushrooms. The plaintiff contends that Utz and Good Health stopped buying the blend in December 2016 and replaced it with a "cheaper synthetic blend" but did not update the ingredient list for more than a year. Moreover, the plaintiff contends that the current product does not contain "significant amounts of the vegetables or vegetable-derived vitamins depicted, and are not healthful." Claiming deceptive acts or practices, false advertising, breach of warranties and unjust enrichment,…

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