A Pennsylvania resident has filed a putative class action in a Florida federal court seeking to represent Florida and multistate classes of consumers allegedly misled by claims that Tropicana orange juice products are “pure” and “natural.” Pederson v. PepsiCo, No. 12-00104 (M.D. Fla., filed January 18, 2012). Similar to lawsuits already filed in New Jersey and California, this complaint alleges that Tropicana branded fruit juices are extensively processed and flavored for mass-marketing purposes. Additional information about the other lawsuits appears in Issue 422 of this Update.

According to the complaint, “Defendants heavily process Tropicana Orange Juice by pasteurizing, de-aerating, and storing it for long periods of time at a ‘tank farm’ and under a nitrogen blanket, which strips the juice of its flavor and aroma. Defendants then re-flavor the product with chemical ‘flavor packets’ before it is packaged into a carton and sold to the consumer.” Alleging violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, misleading advertising, breach of express warranty, and unjust enrichment, the plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, restitution and disgorgement, declaratory and injunctive relief, corrective advertising, interest, attorney’s fees, and costs.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.