The parties to putative nationwide class actions alleging that Unilever U.S.,
Inc. falsely advertised that its margarine spreads, including Country Crock®
and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter®, were good for cardiovascular health are
seeking final court approval of a non-monetary settlement that will require the company to remove the trans fat from its products. Rosen/Red v. Unilever U.S., Inc., Nos. 09-02563, 10-00387 (N.D. Cal, joint motion filed June 6, 2011). Class counsel will receive up to $490,000 in fees if the settlement is approved, and the named plaintiffs will receive up to $4,500. Class members will give up their right to any other equitable or monetary relief.

The joint motion contends that the product reformulation is a substantial
benefit to class members because the company is “the world’s leading
manufacturer of margarine” and that requiring the company to do this “will
substantially benefit its customers and will encourage competitors to also
move away from the use of PHVOs [partially hydrogenated vegetable oils],”
which will purportedly “have a tremendous positive impact on the health
of American consumers.” In bolstering their case for settlement approval,
the parties contend that the lawsuits may have faced dismissal on federal
preemption grounds. A court hearing on the motion is scheduled for June 20,

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.