Category Archives: Food Litigation

474161813

Update – Ninth Circuit Rules on Local Efforts to Block GMOs

Last year, we followed the story of ballot efforts on a local level to preclude GMO crops from being grown in certain counties in Hawaii. The ballot initiatives, which banned GMO crops within the borders of the counties, passed by narrow margins, but were immediately struck down in court after a challenge from various agricultural companies. Local organizations filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, seeking to overturn the District Court decision stating that the ballot initiatives were preempted by federal and state laws. The…

Continue Reading....
No GMO.

Update — Local Governments Can’t Stop GMOs

In July, we wrote about a ballot initiative that banned GMOs in Maui County, Hawaii, which passed by a slim margin of 51 percent. It was challenged immediately in Federal Court by a collaboration of agricultural companies, and the law was struck down. The same issue is now a matter of appeal (login credentials required) before the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The backers of the initiative are seeking to overturn the District Court decision that stated the law was preempted by various…

Continue Reading....
No GMO.

Local Governments Can’t Stop GMOs

In the November election cycle last year, the voters of Maui County, Hawaii passed an initiative that banned most genetically engineered food and plant products from being grown within the county’s borders.  The measure passed by a slim 51% majority, and immediately faced legal action by agricultural companies seeking to enjoin the county from enforcing the ordinance.  Simultaneously, some county residents filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment that the ordinance was valid and needed to be certified and implemented. Last week, the United States…

Continue Reading....

GMOs – the Battle Continues between EU and US

The European Union has decided that individual countries can make decisions regarding the use of GMOs within their own borders, separate and distinct from decisions made by the parliament on behalf of all 28 member countries. The agreement was drafted to allow governments to block the cultivation of certain GMOs in their countries, even if the EU parliament has already approved them. Generally speaking, the Europeans have held a much stricter stance on GMOs than those in the United States.  In fact, most of the…

Continue Reading....

Proposed FDA Rule Changes Leading Food Companies to Take Proactive Measures

In December 2013, the FDA proposed comprehensive changes to the Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2008, with the intention of standardizing the processes for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding foods for human consumption. A summary of the proposals can be found on the FDA’s website. Food companies may have significant internal changes ahead in order to achieve compliance, should the proposed rules be adopted. In anticipation of that, some companies are already taking action – and it may prove to be a wise…

Continue Reading....

FDA’s Refusal to Define “Natural” Opens the Door for More Litigation

On Monday, the FDA issued a  letter in response to three judges’ request, including Judge Kevin McNulty of the District of New Jersey, to clarify the term “natural” as it applies to food labeling requirements.  In its letter, the FDA opted not to create a formal definition for the terms “Natural,” “All Natural” or “100% Natural,” instead relying upon its 1993 policy, in short, that it means “nothing artificial or synthetic… has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not…

Continue Reading....

“Natural” Label Continues To Be Problematic

Recently, there has been a nationwide push by consumer advocates to litigate consumer fraud claims against companies selling products labeled as ‘natural,’ as discussed in previous blog posts here.  Typically, plaintiffs seek damages for violations of consumer protection legislation and allege false advertising or mis-labeling of the products. This week, a New Jersey District Court judge allowed a case to proceed, in part, against Church & Dwight Co. for deodorant sold under the Arm & Hammer Essentials Natural brand. The plaintiffs argued in Trewin,

Continue Reading....

“Natural” Juice Manufacturer Gets Squeezed

Last month, my colleagues here at Goldberg Segalla wrote about food labeling litigation and offered suggestions about to how to defend it.  Their article, entitled “The New Food Fight: Defending Against Labeling Litigation,” is available here.  In it, they note that only a small portion of food litigation involves manufacturing defect claims.  The bulk of it is based on advertising claims that have little to do with health or nutrition.  While various claims have been targeted, a common one is the claim that a…

Continue Reading....