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Consumer Product Matters A product safety and consumer related regulation and litigation blog

Category Archives: Food and Beverage

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Food Identity Disputes Continue to Impose High-Profile Pressure on FDA

Posted in Advertising, Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage

As we reported on previously (see here and here), FDA recently tussled with the manufacturer of an innovative vegan condiment called “Just Mayo” based on the existence of a Federal standard of identity for mayonnaise that requires the food product to incorporate eggs. Similar disputes related to identity standards that don’t accommodate plant-based versions of… Continue Reading

Reading the Tea Leaves: Sales of Macadamia Nuts Could Be Going Up!

Posted in Advertising, Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage

On July 24, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration announced that it had responded to a November 2015 petition from Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut, Inc. for a new qualified health claim characterizing the relationship between macadamia nut consumption and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease (CHD).

California’s Prop 65: More Form Over Substance

Posted in Food and Beverage, Litigation, Prop 65, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Product Safety Laws, State Regulations, Supply Chain Risk Management, Uncategorized

California’s Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (affectionately known as “Proposition 65”) has long been the subject of discussion, both pro and con. Much of the conversation is on various issues surrounding the enforcement of Proposition 65 (for example, see a prior post here). In March 2017, a California trial court in  Monsanto Co…. Continue Reading

Reexamination of “Healthy” Continues with an FDA Public Meeting in March 2017

Posted in Advertising, Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Product Class Actions

As we’ve previously reported, FDA has signaled its interest in reviewing the scope and meaning of the nutrient content claim “healthy,” in part as result of a dispute with KIND LLC about label claims for its KIND Bar products. Then last fall FDA released a new guidance document on what constitutes a “healthy” food and proper labeling of… Continue Reading

False Labeling Lawsuits Get Hung Up On Faulty Damages Models

Posted in Advertising, Federal Regulations, Food and Beverage, Litigation, Product Class Actions

Some of our colleagues from Mintz Levin’s Class Action Practice, Joshua Briones, Crystal Lopez, and Grace Rosales, recently authored an interesting and timely article in the Bloomberg BNA Product Safety & Liability Reporter. The article examines certain defenses in consumer fraud class actions over product labeling – specifically, defenses based on faulty damages models. Beyond proving the… Continue Reading

FDA Increases Transparency of Adverse Event Data for Cosmetics and Foods

Posted in Consumer Product Safety, Drugs & Cosmetics, Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Product Liability

On December 6th, FDA announced that it is publicly releasing data received by the Agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) about adverse events related to cosmetics and foods, including both conventional foods and dietary supplements.  Adverse events can be any negative reaction to a product, such as a serious illness or allergic… Continue Reading

With the passage of Proposition 67, the question is “Would you like paper or…paper?”

Posted in Consumer Product Safety, Food and Beverage, State Regulations

On November 8, 2016, California voters approved Proposition 67, the statewide ban on carry-out plastic bags, by 52 percent. At the same time, California voters rejected Proposition 65 by 55 percent–a measure that would have sent the proceeds from sales of paper bags and reusable bags to environmental causes. Main Provisions of Proposition 67 Prohibits most… Continue Reading

Moving on From “Natural,” FDA Seeks Comments on What It Means to Be a “Healthy” Food

Posted in Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage

As it signaled it would be doing earlier this year, FDA has initiated a public process to redefine the implied nutrient content claim “healthy” when it is used on food labels and labeling.  In addition, while the process is underway, the Agency intends to exercise enforcement discretion for (meaning it will not take action against) foods labeled with the term “healthy”… Continue Reading

Administration’s Biotechnology Working Group Updates Coordinated Framework & Unveils National Strategy

Posted in Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Manufacturer Product Safety, Uncategorized

After launching with an ambitious agenda fourteen months ago (as we wrote about here), last Friday the Obama Administration announced that its Biotechnology Working Group had completed its two main tasks.  The Working Group has proposed an Update to the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology, and it also completed work on a National Strategy for Modernizing the… Continue Reading

House Passes GE Labeling Bill; Obama Expected to Sign

Posted in Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, U.S. Congress

As a parting act before its seven-week recess, the House last Thursday passed by a vote of 306-117 Senator Pat Roberts’s (R-KS) legislation (S.764) requiring the labeling of genetically engineered foods.  Already approved by the Senate last week, the bill is now expected to be signed into law by President Obama, according to a White House… Continue Reading

Eighth Circuit Issues Decision Significant for All Executives of FDA-Regulated Businesses

Posted in Drugs & Cosmetics, Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Litigation, Manufacturer Product Safety

On July 6, 2016, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling in United States v. DeCoster, in which it upheld prison sentences for two executives under the “responsible corporate officer” (RCO) doctrine of liability, also called the Park doctrine, for their role in introducing into interstate commerce eggs that had been adulterated with… Continue Reading

Senate Passes Bill Requiring Labeling for Genetically Engineered Foods

Posted in Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, U.S. Congress, Uncategorized

Four months after the Senate defeated a GE labeling bill (S.2609) introduced by Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS), the upper chamber Thursday night passed, 63-30, a compromise measure (S. 764) that Roberts co-wrote with Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the Ag Committee’s Ranking Member. Unlike Roberts’s original bill, he and Stabenow’s version would mandate the… Continue Reading

The Last Set of Major FSMA Regulations Are Done!

Posted in Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Manufacturer Product Safety, Supply Chain Risk Management

The last of FDA’s seven “foundational” rules mandated under the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011 (FSMA) was published at the end of last month, just a few days before the May 31, 2016 deadline agreed to by the Agency when it settled a lawsuit related to its implementation of FSMA (our posts on the… Continue Reading

Senate Appropriations Bill Targets FDA Rulemaking Agenda

Posted in Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, U.S. Congress

The Senate Appropriations Committee is looking to tinker with the Food and Drug Administration’s rulemaking agenda through its fiscal year 2017 funding bill for the Department of Agriculture and FDA (S. 2956). Passed unanimously by the committee last month, the bill would give FDA marching orders to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) salmon, while putting… Continue Reading

FDA Finally Decides that “Evaporated Cane Juice” Is Misleading Consumers

Posted in Advertising, Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage

Evaporated cane juice, a term usually used to inform about sweeteners derived from the fluid extract of sugar cane, is present on the ingredient lists of many products we see on grocery store shelves. However, newly finalized FDA guidance on use of the term “evaporated cane juice” (“ECJ”) as an ingredient in food labels may… Continue Reading

California Plaintiffs Say that Size Matters: Consumer Fraud Class Action Challenges Slack-Fill in Protein Products

Posted in Advertising, Consumer Product Safety, Drugs & Cosmetics, Food and Beverage, Litigation, Manufacturer Product Safety, Private Labeler Product Safety

According to named plaintiffs in a consumer fraud action filed in December in the Southern District of California, size matters when making it comes to making a purchase.  In fact, Plaintiffs claim that the average consumer’s purchasing decision is “heavily dependent” on the size of the package. Plaintiffs have sued Defendant MusclePharm for “intentionally packaging its… Continue Reading

USDA Increases Cane Sugar Imports to Meet Demand for Non-GE Products

Posted in Federal Regulations, Food and Beverage, State Regulations, Supply Chain Risk Management, U.S. Congress

On May 17, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) announced that it is allowing an additional 200,000 short tons of cane sugar imports to meet food manufacturers’ increasing demand for non-genetically modified sugar products. In its news release, the agency explained that “USDA recognizes that America’s beet sugar producers have made significant investments in… Continue Reading

Just as the Comment Period for “Natural” Ends, FDA Announces Intent to Re-Examine What It Means to Be a “Healthy” Food

Posted in Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage

As any company making and selling food products knows, late last year FDA requested information and comments regarding the appropriate use of the term “natural” for food – the Agency asked what types of processing make that claim misleading, or does the food have to be completely unprocessed?  Does natural connote “healthy” and is it… Continue Reading

Mark Your Calendars: BPA Prop 65 Warnings Required as of May 11, 2016; Styrene Also Added to the Prop 65 List

Posted in Distributors, Food and Beverage, Prop 65, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Regulations

Earlier this month, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) issued a Notice of Emergency Action to allow temporary use of a standard point-of-sale warning message for bisphenol A (“BPA”) exposures from canned and bottled foods and beverages. This emergency rulemaking came only three weeks before California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act… Continue Reading

“GMO” Labeling Food Fight: How Vermont’s Act 120 Is Pressuring An Entire Industry

Posted in Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, State Regulations

On July 1, 2016, Vermont’s Act 120 will require food manufacturers to indicate in the labeling of all products regulated by FDA when the food has been produced with the use of genetic engineering (GE).  Unless Congress acts with unusual swiftness to pass federal legislation regarding GE or “GMO” food labeling that preempts conflicting state or local laws, Vermont’s law will… Continue Reading

Maple Syrup Trade Organization Seeks FDA Regulation of “Maple” Products

Posted in Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage

I haven’t met many people who don’t love maple syrup. Its versatility knows few bounds – traditional pancake or waffle topper, lemonade, salad, and doughnuts come to mind. As you might imagine, the maple syrup industry actively works to protect its product, especially when it comes to alleged imposters.

A Decade Later, Rules for the Sanitary Transportation of Food Finally Finalized by FDA

Posted in Distributors, Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Retailer Product Safety, Supply Chain Risk Management

Last week, FDA finalized new food safety regulations seeking to ensure the sanitary transport of human and animal food, as required under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The final Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food Rule will affect shippers, loaders, carriers, and receivers of food transported by rail or motor vehicle in the… Continue Reading

Post-Senate Vote, Major Food Manufacturers Choose to Label Genetically Engineered Foods

Posted in Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage

In the wake of the Senate’s defeat of legislation that would have preempted state-mandated GE ingredient labeling on food products, a new trend is emerging, as one food manufacturer after another announces that they will voluntarily label bioengineered ingredients contained in their national food product lines.  The chain reaction began less than two weeks ago, with General… Continue Reading

Fraudulent Dietary Supplements Highlighted in the 2016 National Consumer Protection Week

Posted in Consumer Product Safety, Drugs & Cosmetics, Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage

In case you hadn’t heard about it or didn’t get involved in any of the events hosted by various campaign members, the week of March 6-12 was National Consumer Protection Week.  Besides the usual efforts to educate the public about our basic rights as consumers, the risks of identity theft, and certain types of scams such as… Continue Reading