Food Labeling

News & Analysis as of

Food and Beverage Law Update: December 2016

Overtime Rules Enjoined Nationwide - In State of Nev. v. U.S. Dep't of Labor Case No. 4:16-cv-00731-ALM, 2016 WL 6879615 (E.D. Tex. Nov. 22, 2016), a Texas district court enjoined nationwide the Department of Labor's...more

New actions based on ‘nothing artificial’ labels may be halted as FDA redefines ‘natural’

I previously wrote about Thornton v. Pinnacle Foods Group LLC, No. 4:16-CV-00158-JAR, in which the Eastern District of Missouri refused to dismiss a consumer fraud claim based on “nothing artificial” labels on boxes of Duncan...more

3 Steps Food Manufacturers Can Take Now To Prepare For Federal Labeling Regulations

Consumers seem to be more eager than ever to know what they are eating and what journey it traveled to move from farm to table. In this era of authenticity, artificial is out; organic is in....more

Expansion of Liability in Product Labeling Cases

An unprecedented surge in consumer fraud lawsuits over the last several years has consumers and lawyers closely scrutinizing product labels and advertisements. While many of these claims challenge the veracity of “Organic,”...more

The Cannabis Industry: Burning Batteries, Tasty Treats and Budding Product Liability Litigation

Pot smokers are not the only ones lining up outside the local dispensaries; plaintiff personal injury attorneys are as well. Watching, lurking, waiting with dollar signs in their eyes for the chance to seek punitive damages,...more

More “Natural” Labeling Litigations to Come?

Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals revered (in part) a lower court decision finding that Dole’s “all natural” labeling was not deceptive to consumers – reviving a four-year-old litigation, Brazil v. Dole Packaged...more

Missouri appellate court rejects ‘ingredient list’ defense in food labeling case

As Missouri’s reputation as a plaintiff-friendly venue increases, a state appellate court has dealt a blow to food manufacturers facing suits under the state’s consumer fraud statute regarding claims made on their products’...more

FDA Guidance on Evaporated Cane Juice Not So Sweet for Class-Action Defendants

In recent years, a boomlet of litigation – primarily in California – has arisen regarding the product known as “evaporated cane juice” or “ECJ.” The product – made by extracting fluid from crushed sugar cane, clarifying the...more

Food and Beverage News and Trends - November 2016

Four cities will hold referendums this month on taxes on sugary beverages. Looking forward to Election Day, an October 17 survey by PBS NewsHour noted that voters in three California cities and one Colorado city will vote on...more

$18 Million Fine Levied for Campaign Finance Violation in Washington State

On November 3, 2016, a Thurston County Superior Court judge levied an $18 million penalty against a trade association for violations of Washington campaign finance laws. This is believed to be the largest campaign finance...more

Updated FSIS guidance on raising animal label claims: What agribusinesses need to know

Primary responsibility for ensuring the truthfulness of labels on meat, poultry, and egg products resides with the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The FSIS is the public health agency of the U.S. Department of...more

Legal Update: Evaporated Cane Juice

In recent years, a boomlet of litigation – primarily in California – has arisen regarding the product known as “evaporated cane juice” or “ECJ.” The product – made by extracting fluid from crushed sugar cane, clarifying the...more

Standing to Assert Injunctive Relief is Not in the Tea Leaves, Court Says

In Lanovaz v. Twinings North America, Inc., Judge Whyte of the Northern District of California recently decided that the plaintiff lacked standing to pursue injunctive relief, and granted summary judgment for defendant...more

Advertising Law - October 2016 #4

New in False Advertising Suits: "Natural" Claims, Healthy Beverages - Demonstrating that the focus on health-related claims has not abated, two new class actions were filed challenging the "natural" labels for deli meat...more

Check the Box to Avoid Food & Beverage Packaging Litigation

Shagha Tousi, a partner in Nutter’s Litigation Department and a member of the firm’s Business Litigation and Product Liability and Toxic Tort Litigation practice groups, addressed product packaging litigation in the food and...more

5 legal trends food and agriculture companies need to know about

Thompson Coburn recently sponsored the 37th annual 2016 American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) Symposium in Oklahoma City. I had the honor to help plan the event, speak on food labeling issues, and moderate a panel on...more

When “Organic” is Not “Organic,” Even When the USDA Says It Is

Producers of agricultural products go to great lengths to achieve the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “organic” label. Under the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP), organic certification is a complex time-consuming...more

Naturally Misleading? Ninth Circuit Keeps “All Natural” Fruit Labeling Dispute Alive

Does a food label advertising a product as “all natural fruit” mislead consumers when that product contains artificial preservatives? That is the question presented in Brazil v. Dole Food Co. Inc., which the Court of Appeals...more

FDA Announces Initiative to Redefine “Healthy” Claim for Food Labeling

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) announced in September that it is considering how to redefine the term “healthy” as a nutrient content claim for the labeling of human food products. The FDA issued a guidance...more

De-certifiably Natural – Ninth Circuit Finds “All Natural” Label May be Misleading While Upholding Class Decertification

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed in part and affirmed in part a Northern District of California ruling concerning the “All Natural Fruit” labeling on Dole’s packaged fruit products. Brazil v. Dole Packaged...more

To Your Health: FDA Redefining the Term “Healthy” on Food Labels

On September 27, 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it has begun a public process to redefine the term “healthy” on food labels. As part of the public process, the FDA is soliciting input...more

Advertising Law - October 2016 #2

No Shades of Gray in Order Banning Supplement Claims - In a case based on a referral from the National Advertising Division, the Federal Trade Commission obtained summary judgment and a final order against an advertiser...more

Moving on From “Natural,” FDA Seeks Comments on What It Means to Be a “Healthy” Food

As it signaled it would be doing earlier this year, FDA has initiated a public process to redefine the implied nutrient content claim “healthy” when it is used on food labels and labeling. In addition, while the process is...more

Deceptive trade practice claim to proceed based on ‘nothing artificial’ label

The Eastern District of Missouri (the Honorable John A. Ross, U.S. District Judge) recently issued an order denying a motion to dismiss claims involving an allegedly deceptive food label. Plaintiff alleged that she purchased...more

A Step in the Right Direction: FDA Says It Will Refine Regulations on 'Healthy' Claims for Food

FDA recently announced that it will take a second look at its “healthy” regulations, and it is soliciting public comments on a dozen or so topics. Walk down any aisle at the grocery store and you will find foods...more

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