Tag Archives healthy

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Danone US Inc. markets its So Delicious Coconut Milk to health-conscious consumers using health and wellness claims despite coconut milk’s level of saturated fat. Heymsfield v. Danone US Inc., No. 19-0589 (S.D. Cal., filed March 29, 2019). The plaintiff alleges that coconut milk “is unhealthy” because it “is essentially just coconut oil in water,” and coconut oil “is mainly saturated fat.” The complaint cites studies purportedly linking saturated fat consumption and elevated risks of cardiovascular disease. Danone allegedly markets itself as “a company ‘making food that’s good for you’ and products ‘that you can feel good about sipping, biting, pouring, scooping licking and chugging throughout your day,’” the complaint argues. In addition, “the Product was expressly promoted as being able to help consumers maintain healthy bones and prevent osteoporosis.” The complaint provides screenshots of the So Delicious website, which compares…

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that The Hain Celestial Group's Coconut Dream, "a coconut 'milk' style drink that is primarily coconut oil (or coconut oil and added sugar) in water," is marketed to appeal to health-conscious consumers despite being "basically saturated fat (or saturated fat and added sugar)." Andrade-Heymsfield v. Hain Celestial Grp. Inc., No. 19-0433 (S.D. Cal., filed March 5, 2019). The complaint alleges that Hain Celestial misleads consumers by representing Coconut Dream as healthful despite studies purportedly linking coconut-oil consumption and increased risks of cardiovascular heart disease. The plaintiff also alleges a link between sugar consumption and obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. She seeks class certification, damages, corrective advertising, destruction of misleading materials and attorney's fees for alleged violations of California consumer-protection statutes.

A California federal court has granted certification to buyers of Kellogg Co.’s Raisin Bran, Frosted Mini-Wheats and Smart Start who allege they were misled about the health benefits of the products because they contain added sugar. Hadley v. Kellogg Sales Co., No. 16-4955 (N.D. Cal., San Jose Div., entered August 17, 2018). The complaint also contained an allegation about Nutri-Grain bars, but the court declined to certify that class. Kellogg argued that the plaintiffs did not meet the predominance standards for certification, asserting that most consumers did not see the challenged phrases “lightly sweetened” and “wholesome goodness” on the product packaging and further that “the health impact of consuming added sugar—and thus the alleged falsity of the challenged statements—differs for each consumer.” The court agreed as to the “wholesome goodness” phrase on Nutri-Grain bars packaging but disagreed that most consumers would not have seen “lightly sweetened” phrasing based on its…

In a speech at the National Food Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb reportedly summarized the agency’s plans, including (i) defining “healthy” for use with a food-labeling icon, (ii) implementing delayed updates to nutrition labels, and (iii) creating a strategy for reduction in salt consumption. Gottlieb reportedly said FDA will explore possible changes to nutrient-content claims. “People eat foods, not nutrients,” he is quoted as saying. “This is why we’re asking the important question of whether a modernized definition of ‘healthy’ should go beyond nutrients to better reflect dietary patterns and food groups, like whole grains, lowfat dairy, fruits and vegetables and healthy oils.” FDA will also propose short-term, voluntary targets for salt and sodium reduction from the current average daily intake of 3,400 milligrams to no more than 3,000 milligrams. “There remains no single more effective public health action related to…

Concerns about how or whether the term “healthy” should be used in food labeling and packaging prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to hold a public comment meeting on the issue on March 9, 2017. Current FDA regulations allow the use of the term “healthy,” as well as similar terms, as implied nutrient-­content claims. However, the criteria for use vary for different food categories, and the criteria themselves are linked to elements of the nutrition facts panel and serving size regulations—both of which have undergone significant changes in recent years. FDA also received a citizen petition in 2015 from Kind LLC, a producer and distributor of snack bars, requesting the agency amend its regulations defining the use of the term with respect to total fat intake and emphasizing whole foods and dietary patterns instead of specific nutrients. Accordingly, FDA’s 2016 publication of “Use of the Term ‘Healthy’ in…

A consumer has filed a putative class action against Dole Packaged Foods, LLC alleging the company’s products contain too much added sugar to be labeled as “rich in nutrients” or “healthy.” Amaya v. Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, No. 15-7734 (C.D. Cal., filed October 18, 2016). The complaint first details research connecting added sugar intake to detrimental health effects, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, then asserts that Dole’s products containing added sugar are misleadingly labeled. “Dole’s representations that Dole Fruit & Oatmeal contains ‘real fruit!’ and ‘No Trans Fat or Cholesterol,’ and is ‘a healthy . . . Breakfast’ are false, or even if literally true at least highly misleading, in light of the substantial added sugar in the Dole Fruit & Oatmeal products,” the plaintiff argues. The complaint also alleges the labeling claims are unlawful because (i) a statement indicating that the product is free of…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has opened a docket and released industry guidance on the use of the term “healthy” in the labeling of human food products. Responding to Kind LLC’s citizen petition asking the agency to align its nutrient content claim regulations with federal dietary guidance, FDA invites “public comment on the term ‘healthy’, generally, and as a nutrient content claim in the context of food labeling.” Current regulations reportedly establish “the parameters for use of the implied nutrient content claim ‘healthy’ or related terms… on the label or in labeling of a food to suggest that a food, because of its nutrient content, may be useful in creating a diet that is consistent with dietary recommendations, if the food meets certain nutrient conditions, and the claim is made with an explicit or implicit claim or statement about a nutrient.” Among other things, the conditions take into…

A California federal court has refused to dismiss a consumer’s putative class action alleging Nature’s Way misrepresents its coconut oil as a healthy alternative to butter, margarine and other cooking oils despite containing higher levels of saturated fat. Hunter v. Nature’s Way Products, No. 16-0532 (S.D. Cal., order entered August 12, 2016). The court dismissed Nature’s Way’s argument that it was not making a nutrient content claim, finding that a “Variety of Healthy Uses” phrase on the label was near enough to “representations about ‘Non-hydrogenated; No trans fat’ and claims regarding medium chain triglyceride content” to plausibly suggest a nutrient content claim. The claim of misrepresentation was plausibly pleaded as well, the court held, but granted Nature’s Way’s motion to dismiss claims under California’s Unfair Competition Law for lack of specificity. The court also refused to find standing to pursue injunctive relief because the plaintiff was unlikely to purchase the…

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected Whole Foods Market’s attempt to trademark the phrase “World’s Healthiest Grocery Store,” finding the statement to be merely descriptive and puffery. The company currently owns a trademark in “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store,” which it reportedly earned by using the mark in commerce for several years before registration. The rejection notice cites other examples of rejected puffery, including Boston Beer Co.’s attempt to register “The Best Beer in America.” Whole Foods may update and refile its application within six months. See The Washington Post, July 28, 2016.   Issue 613

A meta-analysis examining the effect of dairy fats on health has identified “a small positive association between butter consumption and all-cause mortality, no significant association with incident CVD [cardiovascular disease] or CVD subtypes, and a modest inverse association with type 2 diabetes.” Laura Pimpin, et al., “Is Butter Back? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Butter Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Total Mortality,” PLoS One, June 2016. Relying on data from nine studies that included 636,151 unique participants with 6.5 million person-years of follow-up, researchers reported that “each daily serving of butter (14g/d) was associated with a 1% higher risk of death” from all causes. The pooled data, however, also showed that each 14-gram serving of butter per day was associated with a 4-percent lower incidence of type 2 diabetes, while the studies found no association between butter consumption and stroke, coronary heart disease or total CVD.…

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