California, Lawyers and the Food Industry

Lawyers who took on Big Tobacco target food industry

More than a dozen lawyers who took on the tobacco companies have filed 25 cases against industry players like ConAgra Foods, PepsiCo, Heinz, General Mills and Chobani that stock pantry shelves and refrigerators across America.

The suits, filed over the last four months, assert that food makers are misleading consumers and violating federal regulations by wrongly labeling products and ingredients. While they join a barrage of litigation against the industry in recent years, the group of tobacco lawyers is moving aggressively. They are asking a federal court in California to halt ConAgra’s sales of Pam cooking spray, Swiss Miss cocoa products and some Hunt’s canned tomatoes. ... The lawyers are being selective about where these suits are filed. Most cases have been filed in California, where consumer protection laws tend to favor plaintiffs.

... “It’s difficult to take some of these claims seriously, for instance, that a consumer was deceived into believing that a chocolate hazelnut spread for bread was healthy for children,” said Kristen E. Polovoy, an industry lawyer at Montgomery McCracken, referring to a lawsuit that two mothers brought against the maker of Nutella. “I think the courts are starting to look at the implausibility of some of these suits.”

... A federal judge in California in 2009 dismissed a case against PepsiCo, which accused the company of false advertising because Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries cereal does not contain real berries. He ruled that “a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into believing that the product in the instant case contained a fruit that does not exist.”
Comment: Anyone dumb enough to believe there is a berry called a "crunch berry" should stay home from the grocery store! The Californication of the legal business! More on the CrunchBerry case.

1 comment:

  1. On Pam ... same article:

    When she heard about a lawsuit involving the Pam cooking spray, she took a closer look. “There was nothing scary on it, just this innocuous word, ‘propellant,’ ” said Ms. Sturges, a hairdresser from Los Gatos, Calif.
    After digging deeper, she learned that “propellant” included petroleum gas, propane and butane. “I’d been spraying that on muffin tins to make muffins for my grandchildren — oh my God!”
    The only way Ms. Sturges could have known what the “propellant” consists of was to have read the materials data safety sheet that ConAgra files separately with the government, according to Mr. Gore.


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