A federal court has dismissed with prejudice a putative class
action alleging that Quaker Oats’ use of “100% Natural” on its
products misleads consumers, holding that the plaintiffs’ claims
are expressly preempted by the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act
(FDCA). Gibson v. Quaker Oats Co., No. 16-4853 (N.D. Ill.,
entered August 14, 2017). The plaintiffs alleged that Quaker’s use
of “natural” was misleading under several state statutes because
the products contained residues of the herbicide glyphosate. The
court held that nutritional and food labeling is governed by the
FDCA, preempting the plaintiffs’ state law claims, which were
“attempting to challenge how food stuffs are marketed.” In
addition, the court held that the FDCA expressly governs the
presence of pesticide and herbicide residues in food, “establishing
a clear and manifest purpose that preempts state regulation of
food labeling.”

The court also found the plaintiffs had no standing to pursue
claims related to two Quaker Oats products they had not
purchased, rejecting arguments that the products were “similar”
to those they had bought. Additional details about other Quaker
Oats glyphosate putative class actions appear in Issues 603 and
606 of this Update.


Issue 645

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.