Tag: California

A “Vibe” is Not Enough: Ben & Jerry’s “All Natural” Case Loses Class Certification

You’ll remember the scene from "Casablanca." Ilse (Ingrid Bergman) comes in and Rick (Humphrey Bogart) says, "Your unexpected visit isn’t connected by any chance with the letters of transit. It seems as long as I have those letters, I’ll never be lonely." That’s sort of how I feel about "all natural" product labeling litigation. So … Continue Reading

California About to Adopt General Industrial Storm Pemit

Our colleagues at the California Environmental Law Blog note the General Industrial Storm Water Permit is slated for adoption on April 1, 2014.  Everyone in the California food industry from owners of feedlots to operators of manufacturing facilities will find this very important and should follow developments as Ryan Waterman and Missy Foster report on … Continue Reading

Plaintiffs Seek New Targets in “All Natural” Class Actions

Recently, there have been both positive and negative developments in California regarding "All Natural" consumer class action litigation. By way of background, these cases are typically brought under California’s Unfair Competition Law (Bus. & Prof. Code §17200), False Advertising Law (Bus. & Prof. Code § 17500) and Consumer Legal Remedies Act (Civ. Code §1750) regarding … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Orders FDA to Address “All Natural” Labeling on GMO Foods

Coauthored by Claire Mitchell and Thomas Woods: California federal courts now appear positioned to lead the way nationally on the issue of whether food products containing genetically modified ingredients, commonly referred to as “GMOs” can be labeled “All Natural.” Just last week a federal judge in Colorado stayed the case of Nicole Van Atta v. General … Continue Reading

California’s Proposition 37 and WTO Agreements

Recently, I attended the annual American Agricultural Law Association (AALA) Conference in Nashville, TN. A topic on many of the attendees’ minds was California’s Proposition 37 or “The California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act.” A previous discussion of Proposition 37 can be found here. If passed in November, the voter initiative would require certain … Continue Reading

FSMA And Prop 65 At The GMA Conference

Attorneys Lee N. Smith and Melissa A. Jones participated in the GMA 2012 Food Claims and Litigation Conference in Dana Point.  Mr. Smith (his real name) spoke on the effect of the New Food Safety Modernization Act and its potential impact on litigation, and Ms. Jones (her real name) and Mr. Smith also presented an overview of Proposition … Continue Reading

Green Chemistry Is Back

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) released new informal draft regulations whose stated purpose is:  "to make safer consumer products ….widespread in California…[and]…. provide more protection against toxic chemicals in products on store shelves, while creating market opportunities for industry."    The draft released on October 31, 2011, creates regulations identifying consumer products that contain … Continue Reading

No Slow Down to Class Action Lawsuits in California Regarding Food Labeling and Marketing

By California litigators Tom Woods and Melissa Jones Consumer class action plaintiffs remain very active in California, with cases continuing to be filed against food manufacturers and suppliers regarding alleged misleading labeling and marketing claims. Just this week, plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Trader Joe’s alleging that it falsely advertised and sold cookies … Continue Reading

Moving In-House

As you might have heard, I’m leaving Stoel Rives LLP this month, my professional home for almost 14 years (and parts of three decades). I am honored and humbled to have been asked by The Kellogg Company to join them as their in-house food safety and quality lawyer. My departure from Stoel Rives is bittersweet. … Continue Reading

Prop 65 Targets Cooked Food, Coffee and Vitamin Supplements

This blog entry was originally written by Lee Smith from the California Environmental Law Blog. The Industry Acrylamide Coalition (Coalition) filed suit against the State of California Office of Environmental Health  Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the agency that manages and revised the Prop 65 list to include 4-metheylimidazole (4-MEI), as a carcinogen.  4-MEI is often found … Continue Reading

Bad Guys Disguised As Good Guys: Labeling and Sourcing Issues at Farmers Markets

One of the first scenes in IFC’s comedy “Portlandia’ involves a couple asking their waitress for the provenance of the chicken they are considering ordering. She comes back with a photograph of “Colin”, the actual chicken, and describes the conditions under which he lived before he died for their meal. Unsatisfied with her answer, they ask … Continue Reading

FDA Issues Warning on Alcoholic Energy Drinks; States Move to Ban “Blackout in a Can”

Note: The following is authored by guest blogger Jake Storms, from the Alcoholic Beverages Law Blog. Amidst rising incidences of hospitalizations in college and teenage drinkers linked to consumption of alcoholic energy drinks, the Washington State Liquor Control Board banned their sale effective tomorrow, November 18, 2010. The move came on the heels of a … Continue Reading

How Virgin is Your Olive Oil?

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is finally revising its standards for olive oil, promulgated way back in 1948, to bring them in line with the International Olive Council (IOC), an organization established under United Nations auspices that represents 98% of the world’s olive oil production, nearly all in the … Continue Reading

Froot Loops Litigation: An Endless Loop for Kellogg’s?

Just over forty years ago, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young came out with their Déja Vu album. Attorneys at Kellogg USA are undoubtedly thinking, “We have all been here before.”  Froot Loops pre-dated Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.  I remember taking the Kellogg’s factory tour in Battle Creek and being handed an individual-sized packet at the end … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Approves California Ban on Slaughtering Nonambulatory Animals Against Preemption Challenge

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals may be the best-known lower court judge in the United States.  He has wide-ranging tastes and accomplishments.  Nearly every lawyer has a favorite Judge Kozinski quote, such as the opening line in Mattel, Inc. v. MCA Records, Inc.:  "If this were a sci-fi melodrama, it might … Continue Reading

Cleaning Up the Docket – Northern District of California Dismisses Lanham Act Claim Alleging Mislabeling of Personal Care Products

As we have blogged about, litigation regarding product labeling has been a hot topic within the food and beverage industry. A recent decision from the Northern District of California could hold interesting implications for Lanham Act claims centering on the labeling of products as “organic.” While the case, One God Faith, Inc. v. Hain Celestial … Continue Reading

California Lawmakers Announce Proposed Food-Safety Reforms in Wake of Pistachio Recalls

As pistachio recalls continue to be announced in the wake of salmonella-tainted pistachios from Setton Farms, two California lawmakers this week announced legislation that is expected to strengthen food-safety standards in that state. The bill to be introduced in the California State Assembly by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Assemblyman Mike Feuer is expected to … Continue Reading

California Appeals Court: No Mercury Warnings Required on Canned Tuna

The California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District has upheld a trial court ruling that canned tuna sold in California need not warn consumers about methylmercury.   In 2004, the State of California sued three tuna companies: Tri-Union Seafoods, LLC; Del Monte Corporation; and Bumble Bee Foods, LLC. The state argued, among other things, … Continue Reading

When Is Labeling Misleading and Actionable Under State Law? Is There Any Clearly Understood Standard?

A recent Ninth Circuit case again raises serious questions as to whether there are any clearly defined legal standards as to when a food label is misleading and when it’s not. Manufacturers who are in compliance with federal standards for labeling may still be liable under state law. In Williams v. Gerber, the Ninth Circuit, … Continue Reading

California Menu Labeling Laws–Restaurants Beware of Asking What Your Customer Wants!

Yesterday, California became the first state in the Union to write into law menu labeling requirements. Like municipal ordinances recently enacted in New York City and Seattle, the California law requires certain “chain” restaurants to disclose nutritional information and calorie content information for certain items. The law, to be phased in between 2009 and 2011, applies … Continue Reading
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