Category Archives: Labeling

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New FDA Regulations on E-Cigarettes Set to Take Effect

On May 3, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration expanded their reach to include the regulation of, among others, e-cigarettes and hookah tobacco.  The FDA regulates “tobacco products,” defined to be any product made or derived from tobacco that is intended for human consumption, including any component, part, or accessory of a tobacco product, including, among other products, cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, and smokeless tobacco.  Until now, e-cigarettes were not considered a part of that definition. According to the FDA, it will be able…

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Federal Legislation to Label GMOs Moves Through Senate

Back in June, a new Senate bill was proposed which would require food manufacturers to label products which contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). As of last week, the bill has cleared the first hurdle and will be debated with a limit of 30 hours on the floor, and voted on as early as this week. For those in the food industry, there has long been wind of such an effort being made at the federal level, but until recently, none held any strength. But, with…

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Company Tackles Food Labeling Limitations Proactively, But Loses

Typically, in the “Food Law” world, we see the FDA, state agencies, and consumer activists targeting food manufacturing companies through lawsuits alleging false or misleading labeling, hidden ingredients, and contaminated products which allegedly cause various degrees of harm to consumers. Recently in Florida, a dairy creamery took another approach — and sued the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, among others, to dispute limitations on labeling certain of its dairy products in a way that the company deemed disingenuous to its consumer. The Ocheesee Creamery sells itself…

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A Novel Defense: The Truth

Tetley USA, Inc. is currently defending a false-labeling lawsuit in the Northern District of California (De Keczer v. Tetley USA, Inc., Docket No. 5:12-cv-02409-EJD), filed several years ago on the premise that the plaintiff was deceived by the label saying that the teas provided antioxidants that were good for his health. From the beginning, the plaintiff (and proposed class action) fell short in asserting valid claims, and in a showing of utmost patience from the court, the complaint has been dismissed and amended…

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MedDevices

21st Century Cures Bill Indicates Congressional Desire for Medical Device “Unique Device Identifiers” to be Documented in Electronic Health Records

On July 10, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6, commonly known as the 21st Century Cures Bill. While the broad scope of the bill deals with accelerating the discovery, development and delivery of 21st century medical cures, an amendment to the bill signals Congressional intent that Unique Device Identifiers, currently required on most medical devices used in patient care, be documented in the patients electronic medical records. House Amendment 661 to H.R. 6 states that the purpose of the amendment…

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Defeating “Unnatural” Class Actions

On June 12, 2015 a plaintiff filed a class action lawsuit against Kraft Foods claiming that its Capri Sun beverages are not “all natural” because they contain citric acid and flavorings. “Simply put,” the plaintiff alleges in Osborne v. Kraft Foods Group, Inc., “they contain unnatural ingredients.” These allegations have become commonplace in beverage labeling class actions. Snapple, AriZona, Skinnygirl Margarita mix, and Pure Leaf Iced Tea have all faced similar accusations. The Pure Leaf class action complaint, Laboon v. Unilever U.S., Inc. filed…

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Food Technology: Charting Unknown Territories

The ever-changing industry of food products is one that is hard to keep up with. Much like electronics, or cars, or even toys, the industry is consistently innovating and creating new technologies and applying them to the food that we eat. Engineering our food products is not new – it has been around for decades on a large scale. In previous posts on this blog, we have addressed some of the legal implications of genetically modified foods and labeling claims related to organic or all-natural…

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Unsure What “Natural” Means? That’s Natural…

As anyone who has entered a grocery store in recent years has noticed, there has been a proliferation of foods and beverages claiming to be “natural.” This is not surprising, as according to market research, there is a large percentage of Americans who seek out and buy these types of products. Unfortunately, the FDA has not provided a clear statutory definition of what “natural” means. However, despite this regulatory uncertainty, manufacturers, suppliers, marketers, and retailers of such “natural” foods and beverages can glean some guidance…

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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…

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FDA Issues Guidance on Gluten–Free Labeling Requirements

As American consumers become increasingly more heath conscious, many more of them now read the labels on food packages to determine the overall fat content, percent of calories from carbohydrates, the presence of trans fats, and generally to ascertain the ingredients in prepared foods. One of the growing concerns is the presence of gluten in many prepared foods. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten also shows up in many whole grain foods related to wheat, including bulgur, farro, kamut, spelt,…

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