New York and New Jersey residents have filed a putative class action in an Illinois federal court against the company that makes a line of kefir dairy products, alleging that they are falsely promoted as providing “clinically proven therapeutic benefits for various health conditions.” Keatley v. Lifeway Foods, Inc., No. 12-3521 (N.D. Ill., filed May 8, 2012).

According to the complaint, Lifeway claims, without adequate proof, that
its kefir products containing ProBoost, “an exclusive blend of live and active
probiotic cultures,” can support immunity, enhance digestion, boost well-being,
alleviate diarrhea, and otherwise address autoimmune disorders, bad
breath, celiac disease, Crohn’s and colitis, high cholesterol, immune deficiency,
infantile colic, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose intolerance, seasonal allergies,
and yeast infections. The plaintiffs contend that they would not have
purchased the products if they had known that ProBoost products “did not
have the quality, health benefits or value as promised.”

Seeking to certify a nationwide class and two state subclasses of consumers,
the plaintiffs allege violation of the Magnuson-Moss Act; unjust enrichment;
breach of express warranty; intentional misrepresentation; fraudulent
concealment/nondisclosure; and violations of Illinois, New Jersey and New
York consumer protection laws. They seek declaratory and injunctive relief;
compensatory, treble and punitive damages exceeding $5 million; interest; restitution; attorney’s fees; and costs.

About The Author

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.

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