Coconut Milk “Healthy” Suit Dismissed
A California federal court has dismissed a putative class action complaint alleging that Danone U.S. Inc.’s So Delicious Coconut Milk is misleadingly marketed as healthful. Andrade-Heymsfield v. Danone U.S. Inc., No. 19-0589 (S.D. Cal., entered August 14, 2019). Danone argued that the challenged statements were not health or nutrient content claims, and the court assessed each statement. “The ‘Maximum Calcium Absorption’ statement . . . is a permissible structure/function claim as permitted under the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s)] own guidance to its regulations. FDA guidance even lists ‘calcium helps build strong bones’ as a permitted structure/function claim, not a health claim,” the court found.
Similarly, “Nutrition in Every Sip” is a “permissible structure/function claim” and “is not made in connection with an explicit or implicit claim or statement about a nutrient as required by the regulation for implied nutrient content claims such as the cited example, ‘healthy, contains 3 grams of fat.’  The FDA has clarified that general references to ‘healthy’ do not suggest a nutritional profile of the food, and consumers possess the ability to discern when the word ‘healthy’ is being used to convey that a food has a particular nutrient profile.” Accordingly, the court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims with prejudice.