Pumpkin or Squash?

Fox Rothschild LLP
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Fox Rothschild LLP

As Fall comes to an end and we’ve consumed enough pumpkin pie to last us until next year, we remind you of the pumpkin vs. squash advertising debate that is more mind-boggling than what Grandma brought to your Thanksgiving feast.

To wit, canned pumpkin is not always canned pumpkin.  Canned pumpkin is sometimes packed from field pumpkin, sometimes packed from certain varieties of squash, and sometimes packed from a mixture of the two.  Since 1938, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has advised canners that it will not enforce the use of “pumpkin” or “canned pumpkin” for products that consist of certain varieties of squash alone or mixed with field pumpkin. In its Compliance Policy Guide, the FTC states, “In the absence of any evidence that this designation misleads or deceives consumers we see no reason to change this policy.”

More legally speaking (for those inclined following Turkey Coma Day), the FTC explains that it considers “the designation ‘pumpkin’ to be in essential compliance with the ‘common or usual name’ requirements of sections 403(i)(l) and 403(i)(2) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and the ‘specifying of identity’ required by section 1453(a)(1) of the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.”  Whatever that really means, we’re all happy that canned pumpkin tastes like it does so we can get our once-a-year fix.  Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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