The line between what’s an objective claim (which does require proof) and puffery (which does not require proof) isn’t always clear, and reasonable minds can differ as to on which side of the line a claim belongs. When the Eighth Circuit held in 2004 that “America’s Favorite Pasta” was puffery, many people were surprised and
Florida attorney general Pam Bondi filed a complaint last week against Icebox Cafe, L.C. alleging that the restaurant violated Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act by making misleading claims that its food products were “locally-sourced” and “sustainable.” The defendant operates a self-proclaimed “farm-to-table” restaurant in Miami Beach, along with select locations at airports.
In its first case challenging “organic” claims, the FTC announced a settlement with Moonlight Slumber, LLC resolving charges that the company misrepresented or could not support a variety of environmental and health-related claims about its baby mattresses.
Misleading and Unsubstantiated Claims. The FTC’s complaint asserts that Moonlight advertised its baby mattresses as “organic,” “natural,” “hypoallergenic,” and “eco-friendly.” Moonlight also indicated that the mattresses were made with “BabySafe Natural Materials” and “eco-friendly plant-based foam.” According to the FTC, the company’s products were made of a majority of non-organic materials. For instance, the cores and fire barriers of the company’s Starlight Simplicity and Little Star mattresses did not contain any organic material, and 70% of the cotton cover of these mattresses was non-organic material. The Little Star mattress core was made of a synthetic latex material, rather than the “natural latex” the company advertised, and for both the Starlight Simplicity and Little Star mattresses, only the mattress ribbon itself contained solely organic materials. According to the FTC, most of the company’s mattresses were made of polyurethane, either wholly or substantially, and the foams in these mattresses were comprised of “little or no plant-based material.”
The FTC provided a summary of their Green Guides available here.