A plaintiff’s attorney firm has filed three putative class actions in New York federal court alleging that products marketed as “vanilla” are misleading consumers by implying that the products contain vanilla rather than vanilla flavoring.

A lawsuit targeting Califia Farms’ Vanilla and Unsweetened Vanilla varieties of almondmilk asserts that the “front labels represent that the vanilla (i) flavor is exclusively derived from the vanilla plant and (ii) present in an amount sufficient to independently characterize the Products” and alleges that the “representations are misleading because they do not reference flavors other than vanilla even though the ingredient lists reveal the Products contain ‘Natural Flavor.'” Cicciarella v. Califia Farms, LLC, No. 19-8785 (S.D.N.Y., filed September 22, 2019).

A similar lawsuit challenges Aldi Inc.’s Friendly Farm brand on similar grounds, alleging the almondmilk’s vanilla varieties are misleading consumers. Parham v. Aldi Inc., No. 19-8975 (S.D.N.Y., filed September 26, 2019). A third complaint alleges that Cumberland Farms’ Farmhouse Creamery ice cream is misleadingly labeled the same way—as flavored with vanilla but containing additional “natural flavors.” Musikar v. Cumberland Farms Inc., No. 19-8410 (S.D.N.Y., filed September 10, 2019).

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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.

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