If the summer slide and the start of school kept you too busy to follow what’s going on in the food scene, we hear you!  Catch up on key developments below in this issue of our Food Industry Litigation and Regulatory Highlights.

The Courts Were Kind to the Food Industry This Summer

This summer brought a series of class action victories to the food industry, including a trio of decisions from the Second and Ninth Circuits, both long-time hot beds for false advertising class actions, as well as four dismissals from the Southern District of New York.

At the appellate level, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action challenging Starbucks’ claim that its drinks are the “best coffee for you” and that its coffee is “watched over … from the farm to you,” despite the use of pesticides to kill roaches at certain retail locations.  The Court ruled that the challenged claims were not specific enough to misrepresent a quality or characteristic of Starbucks’ coffee, and that no reasonable consumer would interpret them to suggest anything about the use of pesticides in Starbucks’ stores.

The Ninth Circuit decertified a class of consumers claiming that Coca-Cola falsely labels its drinks as having no artificial flavors when they contain phosphoric acid, ruling that consumers lacked standing to pursue injunctive relief.  According to the Court, the plaintiffs’ claims that they “would consider purchasing” Coke in the future if certain disclosures were included or if the product’s labels were truthful were insufficient to show an actual or imminent threat of future harm.
Continue Reading Food Industry Litigation and Regulatory Highlights, July – September 2021

The Agriculture Marketing Service of the United States Department of Agriculture announced an agreement reached with Canada’s Food Inspection Agency that will provide U.S. organic dairy, beef, sheep, goat and bison producers with more streamlined access to the Canadian market. Canada now considers U.S. organic requirements for access to pasture and living conditions to be

On January 25, 2012, the Food Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a final rule that substantially modifies the menu planning and nutrition requirements for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. The rule, which is intended to improve the dietary habits of school children in grades K-12

Today the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published two proposed regulations that will affect companies that produce and market organic food products. One proposed rule would clarify which vitamins and minerals are permitted for use in organic food and infant formula, while the other proposed rule would renew the status

Responding to a letter from eight trade associations asking for more time to prepare for compliance, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), an agency within the Department of Agriculture, has decided to delay the effective date of final regulations requiring nutrition labeling for major cuts of single-ingredient raw meat and poultry from January 1

On November 18, 2011, President Obama signed into law H.R. 2112, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (Pub. L. 112-055), which, among other things, provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) for Fiscal Year 2012. The law includes policy “riders” blocking funding for key provisions of a rule proposed by USDA

Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") Food Safety and Inspection Service ("FSIS") issued a proposed rule that is intended to ensure that commercial catfish products are properly marked, labeled, and packaged, and are not adulterated. The rule implements recently enacted legislation which was advocated by U.S. catfish producers, and singles out domestic and

Last month, the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issued a proposed rule that would revise the meal patterns and nutrition requirements for the National School Lunch Program (“NSLP”) and the School Breakfast Program (“SBP”). The proposed rule, which is intended to improve the dietary habits of school children, would

This post was written by Sarah Roller

The U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that certain false advertising claims based on state consumer protection and anti-deception statutes were not preempted by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA)— a federal Act that establishes national standards for the sale and labeling of organically