A federal court in California has given preliminary approval to a proposed $8.25-­million settlement of a class action claiming that kombucha tea products manufactured by Millennium Products, Inc. and sold at Whole Foods were mislabeled. Retta v. Millennium Products, No. 15-­1801 (C.D. Cal., order entered January 31, 2017). The plaintiffs claimed that the kombucha labels (i) used the term “antioxidant” when the product contained none; (ii) used the term “non­-alcoholic” when the fermented tea product allegedly contained alcohol in excess of the amount permitted for non­alcoholic beverages; and (iii) understated the amount of sugar in the product.

In its order, the court granted class certification and approved monetary and injunctive relief, including Millennium’s agreements to (i) add warning labels that the product contains alcohol and must be refrigerated because it is under pressure; (ii) conduct regular sample testing to ensure the accuracy of the products’ sugar content; and (iii) adopt any new industry methodology for testing the alcohol content of kombucha beverages, if one is developed.


Issue 630

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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