Tag Archives New York

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging That’s It Nutrition deceptively labels and advertises its snack bars’ ingredients by using collective names for the fruits and vegetables they contain. Medina v. That’s It Nutrition, LLC, No. 18-2022 (E.D.N.Y., filed April 4, 2018). The complaint alleges that That's It fruit bar labels list generic names rather than specific ingredients; for example, one bar's label lists “apples” without specifying whether the ingredient is apple powder, puree or some other processed form of the fruit. “If the defendant began the bar production process with whole intact fruits, the ingredient list would indicate the presence of an additional binding ingredient such as a gel, pectin, juice concentrate or syrup, needed to keep the individual fruit matter together,” the complaint asserts. The label representations, which include “That’s it,” “All Natural,” “No Preservatives,” “Raw,” “No Purees or Juices,” “2 ingredient snack,” “Just Fruit” and…

The Second Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action that alleged Abbott Laboratories Inc. falsely represented its Similac Advance Organic Infant Formula as organic, ruling the plaintiffs’ state-law claims are barred by the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). Marentette v. Abbott Labs. Inc., No. 17-0062 (2d Cir., entered March 23, 2018). The plaintiffs alleged that Abbott misled consumers because the product contained ingredients not permitted by the OFPA. The appeals court asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to submit an amicus brief addressing (i) whether the certification process requires the certifying agent to review and approve the ingredients of the final product to be labeled organic and (ii) whether products made in accordance with a properly certified plan will necessarily comply with the OFPA. According to the decision, USDA stated that “certifying agents review and approve both the process and the ingredients of the final product…

A federal court in New York has dismissed with prejudice a shareholder suit against Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., finding the plaintiffs were unable to allege that the company made “demonstrably false” statements about foodborne illness outbreaks linked to its restaurants. Ong v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, No. 16-0141 (S.D.N.Y., entered March 22, 2018). The plaintiffs alleged that Chipotle and three of its executives misled shareholders and the public in 2015 and 2016 statements after outbreaks of norovirus, E. coli and Salmonella were linked to its restaurants. In addition to finding Chipotle’s annual reports contained sufficient disclosures about its processes, the court found that the plaintiffs failed to adequately allege that executives who knew about the outbreaks' connection to Chipotle sold more than $214 million in stock because the stock sales occurred months before the outbreaks were linked to the company.

Rebbl Inc. faces a putative class action alleging its “super herb” beverages are falsely advertised and labeled because the claims made for their ingredients are “not supported by sound scientific evidence.” Richburg v. Rebbl Inc., No. 18-1674 (E.D.N.Y., filed March 16, 2018). The complaint alleges that beverages in Rebbl’s product line of “Elixirs” and “Proteins” contain several ingredients—turmeric, reishi, maca, matcha, ashwaganda, medium chain triglyceride oil and coconut milk—that the company falsely asserts can reduce stress and improve beauty, health or wellness. Claiming violations of New York’s General Business Law, breach of warranties, fraud and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.

I Heart Foods Inc. faces a putative class action alleging that its "I Heart Keenwah" Quinoa Puffs contain mostly rice and pea protein rather than the quinoa implied by the product name. Ransom v. I Heart Foods Inc., No. 18-1465 (E.D.N.Y., filed March 8, 2018). According to the complaint, Quinoa Puffs are made from quinoa flour, brown and white rice flours and pea protein concentrate. Manufacturing methods for “puffed extrusion foods” require ingredients that have a low fat and high starch content, the plaintiff asserts, and the high levels of lipids in quinoa suggest that the product is mostly made of rice. In addition, the complaint argues that because pea protein has five times the amount of protein contained in quinoa, the label’s claim of five grams of protein per serving is likely due to the pea protein. Alleging violations of New York consumer-protection laws, breach of warranties, fraud and unjust enrichment,…

A New York federal court has issued a decision seemingly aiming to spur action from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has purportedly exhibited “no discernible activity” to establish a definition of “natural.” In re Kind LLC “Healthy and All Natural" Litig., No. 15-2645 (S.D.N.Y., entered March 2, 2018). Kind LLC previously filed motions to dismiss or stay claims in multidistrict litigation alleging that its labeling was false and misleading. After allowing stays, the court has indicated that it might proceed with the case without waiting for input from FDA or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the definitions of "healthy" and "natural." The court first found that the consumers' challenge to Kind's claim that its products are made without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) was not preempted by the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, holding that the relevant state consumer-protection statutes “do not impose a GMO standard or requirement.…

BFY Brands, Inc., maker of Our Little Rebellion snacks, faces a potential class action alleging that its one-ounce bags of popcorn contain up to 54 percent slack fill. Reaves v. BFY Brands, Inc., No. 18-2065 (S.D.N.Y., filed March 7, 2018). The plaintiff alleges that he bought bags of Popcorners products—including Smokin’ Jalapeño White Cheddar, Sweet Heat Chili and Sweetly Salted Caramel—but did not receive the amount he expected based on the size of the packages. Claiming violations of New York consumer-protection laws, deceptive and unfair trade practices, false advertising and fraud, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages, corrective advertising and attorney’s fees.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has asked the New York health department to establish enforceable maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOA and PFOS in public drinking water. In its 65-page petition, NRDC detailed the results of a year-long study of state drinking water sources, including purported findings of elevated levels of the chemicals in eight communities and blood serum concentrations ten times the national average in one city. NRDC argues that “in the absence of federal safeguards,” New York should act to (i) establish a MCL below 10 parts per trillion; (ii) study the potential harms of feeding infants with formula mixed with water or the consumption of contaminated water by breastfeeding mothers or pregnant women; and (iii) conduct comprehensive health assessments of residents in communities found to have elevated PFOA or PFOS concentrations in drinking water sources.

MJS America LLC, maker of “Majans Bhuja Snacks,” faces a putative class action alleging that the primary ingredients of its “Ancient Grains Twists” are rice, peas, tapioca and sunflower or canola oil rather than ancient grains. Louis v. MJS America LLC, No. 18-1046 (E.D.N.Y., filed February 18, 2018). The plaintiff asserts that she paid a premium price for the product because she understood “Ancient Grains Twists” to mean that the snack was made exclusively from ancient grains, but the product allegedly contains only “non-substantive” amounts of chia and quinoa seeds, which the complaint describes as “pseudocereals among ancient grains.” Claiming false advertising, breach of express and implied warranties of merchantability, fraud and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff seeks class certification, injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees.

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging Storck USA, L.P., maker of Werther’s, packages Original Sugar Free Chewy Caramels with nonfunctional slack fill and misrepresents the effect of maltitol syrup on blood glucose levels. Kpakpoe-Awei v. Storck USA L.P., No. 18-1086 (S.D.N.Y., filed February 7, 2018). The complaint alleges that nontransparent 2.75-ounce bags of the candy contain as much as 69 percent slack fill while comparably sized 5-ounce bags of regular Chewy Caramels contain only 33 percent slack fill. Claiming violations of New York state consumer-protection laws, false advertising and fraud, the plaintiff seeks class certification, an injunction, damages, corrective advertising and attorney’s fees.

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