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The U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld several complaints against Oatly UK Ltd. arguing that the company's advertisements misled consumers into believing the product is more environmentally friendly than the production processes actually are. The ads cited several statistics on the greenhouse gases generated by the dairy and livestock industries and asserted Oatly's production generated fewer emissions. ASA found that the statistics were presented in ways that consumers would be likely to misunderstand, such as the assertion that "Oatly generates 73% less CO2e vs. milk," which applied specifically to whole milk and not the broader milk category. The one complaint that was not upheld was the assertion that “If everyone in the world adopted a vegan diet, it would reduce food’s annual greenhouse emissions by 6.6bn metric tons (a 49% reduction)” because ASA found sufficient evidence to support the statement.

A Virginia federal court has reportedly confirmed that gruyere cheese does not need to be produced in the region near Gruyères, Switzerland, to carry the name in American stores. A consortium of cheesemakers in France and Switzerland near the region had appealed after the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board denied its application for a trademark, but the Eastern District of Virginia found that "gruyere" had been imported from areas outside of the Gruyère district for decades before the consortium applied for protections. A spokesperson for Switzerland's agriculture department reportedly told the New York Times, “Using the term ‘gruyère’ for a cheese produced in the United States threatens the reputation of the original product and its place in the foreign market and can only harm the entire sector."

A consumer has alleged that Mondelez Global LLC misleads consumers by marketing its Oreo Fudge Cremes as "fudge covered" because the topping covering the cookies lacks milkfat. Leonard v. Mondelez Global LLC, No. 21-10102 (S.D.N.Y., filed November 28, 2021). The complaint lists several recipes for fudge to support its argument that fudge requires the presence of milkfat, while Mondelez produces its "fudge" with palm oils and nonfat milk. "Fudge covered cookies made with fudge ingredients such as dairy components, containing milkfat, are not a rare or pricy delicacy that would make a reasonable consumer 'double check' their presence by scouring the packaging," the plaintiff argues. "The front label creates an erroneous impression that essential fudge ingredients are present." The complaint compares the "fudge" ingredients to the "truthful and non-misleading 'Mint' representations, through words and pictures of peppermint leaf," which are accurate because the product contains peppermint oil, the plaintiff explains.…

Two consumers have filed a putative class action alleging that Icelandic Provisions Inc.'s skyr cultured dairy product is misleadingly marketed as made in Iceland despite being produced in New York. Mantini v. Icelandic Provisions, Inc., No. 21-0618 (S.D.N.Y., filed January 23, 2021). The packaging for the skyr, which features the text "Traditional Icelandic Skyr" and photos of an Icelandic countryside, "gives consumers the belief it is made in Iceland," the complaint asserts. Although the back of the package indicates that the product is "made in Batavia, NY with domestic and imported ingredients," the plaintiffs allege they "relied upon the representations and indications of the Product's origins - literally and figuratively - in Iceland, and desired to purchase such a product." Alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and violation of Pennsylvania's consumer-protection statute, the plaintiffs seek class certification, injunctive relief, damages, costs and attorney's fees.

In an effort to remove regulations no longer "necessary to ensure that these products meet consumer expectations," the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed to revoke the standards of identity and quality for frozen cherry pie and French dressing. "The proposal is part of the FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy," constituent updates on the proposed revocations state. "One of the goals of the NIS is to modernize food standards to maintain the basic nature and nutritional integrity of products while allowing industry flexibility for innovation to produce more healthful foods. The FDA believes it is important to take a fresh look at existing standards of identity in light of marketing trends and the latest nutritional science." The agency's Fall 2020 agenda also indicated an intention to amend the standard of identity for yogurt and revoke the standards of identity for lowfat and nonfat yogurt, but that final rule has…

A consumer has alleged that Frito-Lay Inc.'s Baked Cheddar and Sour Cream chips use diacetyl to obtain the sour cream flavor without referring to diacetyl as a characterizing flavor. Vado v. Frito-Lay Inc., No. 20-2055 (S.D. Cal., filed October 19, 2020). The complaint asserts that artificial diacetyl, which provides a butter flavor, is used to enrich the taste of sour cream that has been produced from cows raised on a feedlot rather than a pasture. The plaintiff argues that the diacetyl is thus a characterizing flavor of the chips and alleges the chips should be labeled "Cheddar and Artificial Sour Cream Flavored." The complaint also distinguishes the baked variety of the chips from the brand's conventional version, which "actually contains sour cream and unlike the Mislabeled Product, real sour cream is listed as an ingredient on the back-label ingredient list." The plaintiff alleges violations of California consumer-protection statutes as well…

The European Parliament has reportedly voted against a ban on the use of meat terms for plant-based alternatives to meat, allowing words such as "burger," "steak" and "sausage" to be used on the packaging for plant-based foods, while passing a measure to ban the use of dairy terms on alternatives to dairy foods, such as "yogurt-style" or "cream imitation." A ban was already in place for the use of "milk" and "butter" for plant-based foods, and the passage of the measure expands the limitations.

Europol and Interpol have announced the seizure of 320 additional tonnes of "counterfeit and substandard food and beverages" following an operation that involved 83 countries, bringing the operation's seizure total to about 12,000 tonnes. "This year’s operational activities have found a new disturbing trend to address: the infiltration of low-quality products into the supply chain, a development possibly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic," the press release notes. The operation, which focused on dairy foods, olive oil, alcohol and horse meat, also identified counterfeit cereals, grains and derived products as well as coffee, tea and condiments.

A New York federal court has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that BEF Foods Inc. misleadingly marketed its Bob Evans mashed potatoes as containing butter. Sarr v. BEF Foods, No. 18-6409 (E.D.N.Y., entered February 13, 2020). The lawsuit alleged that the packaging promised "real butter" and "fresh potatoes" despite containing vegetable oil and preservatives. The court found that the product's ingredient list disclosed that the mashed potatoes contained both vegetable oil and butter, with butter as the more predominant ingredient. The court was also unpersuaded on the "fresh potatoes" point. "No reasonable consumer would conclude that the phrases 'Made with Fresh Potatoes' and 'Made with 100% Fresh Potatoes' [] imply that the finished Mashed Potatoes product itself was 'just prepared' or lacking preservatives," the court held. "BEF's representations unambiguously mean that the potatoes used as an ingredient in the Mashed Potatoes were fresh when so incorporated."

A Public Health Nutrition study has purportedly found that "toddler milks," or "sugar-sweetened milk-based drinks for toddlers," are a growing market but are advertised as providing unsubstantiated benefits. Choi et al., "US toddler milk sales and associations with marketing practices," Public Health Nutrition, February 4, 2020. The researchers reportedly found that 45% of preschoolers (24 to 47.9 months) and 31% of young toddlers (12 to 23.9 months) consume sugar-sweetened beverages each day. "[T]oddler milk packages contain numerous nutrition-related and child development claims, such as ‘DHA and iron to help support brain development’ and ‘probiotics to help support digestive health’, which have not been supported by scientific research," the researchers assert. "These claims may mislead caregivers to believe that toddler milk provides benefits for their child’s nutrition and development." The researchers called for countries "to enact Code provisions" that would limit or prohibit the promotion of breast milk substitutes, including toddler…

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