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

Tag Archives: Food Labeling

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

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

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

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

“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

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

New GE Ingredient Labeling Bill Intensifies Food Fight in Congress

Posted in Federal Regulations, Food and Beverage, U.S. Congress

The latest salvo in the legislative food fight over genetically engineered (GE) ingredients came from the Senate, where Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) has introduced a bill that would instruct the Secretary of Agriculture to create a voluntary food labeling standard for bioengineered foods. Perhaps most importantly, this voluntary federal standard would preempt conflicting… Continue Reading

Preemption Defense in the Ninth Circuit Is “Not Dead Yet”

Posted in Food and Beverage, Litigation

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) contained a scene where bodies of plague victims were brought out to the curb for collection via a cart whether or not they properly belonged there.  One living fellow insists on not being dead by exclaiming: “I’m not dead yet.”  Unfortunately for him, his protestations go unheeded and… Continue Reading

FDA Places Ban on Import of GE Salmon

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

Reversing course from the end of 2015, FDA recently announced an import ban on genetically engineered (GE) salmon until such a time as comprehensive labeling guidelines are introduced. Despite FDA’s approval of GE salmon in November 2015, the agency appears to have bowed to congressional pressure and placed a hold on the importation of the… Continue Reading

“Just Mayo” Maker Convinces FDA That a Different Label Doesn’t Have to Include a Different Name

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

Back in September we blogged about the Warning Letter that FDA issued to Hampton Creek Foods, Inc. for its vegan food dressing and sandwich spread, “Just Mayo” and a similar product, “Just Mayo Sriracha.”  In addition to several other interesting labeling violations, FDA noted that “Just Mayo” was not mayonnaise as defined by federal regulations because it… Continue Reading

Confirmation of New FDA Head May Be Held Up By GE Salmon Labeling Issues

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

On Tuesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee unanimously approved the President’s nomination of Dr. Robert Califf as the next commissioner of food and drugs.  (Senator Bernie Sanders, I-VT, who would have voted against the nomination, was not present at the January 12th committee session.)  Dr. Califf appeared in front of the HELP Committee in mid-November; if… Continue Reading

Congress Passes 2016 Spending Bill with Significant Funding for Food Agencies

Posted in Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Litigation, Product Class Actions, U.S. Congress

The 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill recently passed by both houses of Congress ushers in important developments in the food safety, labeling, and nutrition spaces.  Following House and Senate votes December 18, it now goes to President Obama for his signature. The bill includes important provisions for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Department of… Continue Reading

What Does GMA’s SmartLabel Initiative Mean for False Advertising Litigation?

Posted in Advertising, Food and Beverage, Litigation, Product Class Actions, State Consumer Protection Laws

On December 2, 2015, the Grocery Manufacturers Association announced SmartLabel, a pioneering technology initiative that gives manufacturers and retailers an important new channel for disclosing information about their products directly to consumers. Through SmartLabel, simply by searching online or scanning the bar code on a product’s label, consumers can readily access a wealth of detail… Continue Reading

FDA Finalizes Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Guidance & Approves “AquAdvantage Salmon”

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

Last week will undoubtedly be marked in the annals of Food and Drug Administration history as an important milestone for the Agency. On November 19, 2015, FDA approved the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for use as human food – AquaBounty Technologies’s AquAdvantage Salmon, a transgenic Atlantic salmon that contains a growth hormone gene… Continue Reading

FDA Requests Input on Use of the Term “Natural” for Foods

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

On November 12, 2015, FDA is scheduled to publish a notice in the Federal Register announcing a request for public comments on the use of the term “natural” in food labeling. As the Agency points out, it has been under pressure in recent years from many stakeholders to develop a regulatory definition for “natural” in… Continue Reading

What’s in a Name? When You’re Selling a Food with an Established Federal Standard of Identity, a Whole Lot!

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

A bluntly labeled section of the Code of Federal Regulations – “Mayonnaise” – provides a description of this particular food dressing, the food’s required ingredients, optional ingredients, and how to declare those ingredients.  The goals of this and other standardized food definitions are to prevent economic fraud on consumers (and between supply chain partners), avoid… Continue Reading

FDA Determines Artificial Trans Fat Are No Longer “Generally Recognized as Safe”; Must Be Removed From Human Food By June 2018

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

Acting to finalize a tentative decision from 2013, FDA announced on June 15, 2015 that it was issuing a declaratory order that will require manufacturers to remove partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) from processed foods over the next three years. PHOs in ready-to-eat foods like baked goods, snack foods, and frozen foods represent Americans’ major dietary… Continue Reading

Onward to Trial: Federal Court Rejects Vermont’s Motion to Dismiss GMA Lawsuit

Posted in Advertising, Food and Beverage, Litigation, State Consumer Protection Laws

Despite a stiff litigation challenge from the food industry, Vermont’s GMO-labeling campaign marches on. This week saw major developments in the suit brought by the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association and other food industry groups challenging the constitutionality of Vermont’s GMO-labeling law, Act 120. Each side won an important victory in motions decided by the court, leveling the… Continue Reading

California Appellate Court Takes on Proposition 65 Warning Triggers

Posted in Children's Products, Distributors, Food and Beverage, Litigation, Manufacturer Product Safety, Product Liability, Prop 65, Retailer Product Safety, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Product Safety Laws, State Regulations, Supply Chain Risk Management

Recent attempts to modify California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, Proposition 65, have been the work of the California Legislature.  (See A Sane Tweak To Proposition 65 and California Reenters the GMO Food Labeling Arena – This Time Through The Legislature).  This past week, however, the California Appellate Court for the… Continue Reading

And the Beat Goes On: NY State Assembly to Vote on GMO Labeling Law

Posted in Food and Beverage, State Regulations

Coming on the heels of the reintroduction of the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, on March 3, 2015, the New York State Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection voted 9 to 6, with one abstention, to pass bill A.617, which would require food made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be labeled as such…. Continue Reading

Vermont Doubles Down: Representative Testifies Before Congress Against Federal GMO Labeling Bill

Posted in Advertising, Federal Regulations, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, State Consumer Protection Laws, State Regulations, U.S. Congress

As we’ve explored in past posts, Congress is currently considering a bill that aims to harmonize the patchwork of state efforts at regulating GMO labeling by placing such regulation firmly within FDA’s jurisdiction. Dubbed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act (H.R. 4432), this bill would give FDA exclusive authority to regulate the labeling of… Continue Reading

A Taste of Things to Come? Whole Foods Feels Sting of “Non-GMO” Litigation

Posted in Advertising, Consumer Product Safety, Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Food and Beverage, Litigation, Manufacturer Product Safety, Product Class Actions, Retailer Product Safety, State Consumer Protection Laws

As we’ve explored in past posts, mandatory GMO-labeling legislation has, at best, a spotty track record among state legislatures. Nevertheless, the GMO issue continues to draw the public’s attention, and it is becoming clear that the “Non-GMO” label now appeals to at least certain segments of the consumer base. Some companies in the food and beverage space… Continue Reading

The Incredible Shrinking Red Bull Refund: How Should Courts Verify Class Membership?

Posted in Consumer Product Safety, Food and Beverage, Litigation, Product Class Actions

A recent class action settlement has brought fresh attention to two age-old questions. The first: does Red Bull actually give you wings? The second: how carefully should courts screen out bogus claimants from proposed classes of refund-seeking consumers? Earlier this month, a federal court in Manhattan conditionally approved a settlement in two related class actions brought against… Continue Reading