Sarah Abramson

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On Monday, September 21st the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) held a workshop entitled Homeopathic Medicine & Advertising (“workshop”). The workshop consisted of three panels: one discussing the homeopathic industry parameters generally, one discussing the science of homeopathic medicine, and the last discussing the legal and regulatory issues surrounding the marketing of homeopathic medicines. …
By now, class action suits over foods using the term “natural” are old news following the age old American story:  class action plaintiff meets product, product assures plaintiff it is all-natural, plaintiff finds something in product that it doesn’t think is natural, lawsuit ensues.   Over the course of the last few years, cases challenging “natural” and “all-natural” claims have proliferated in the absence of a clear federal definition of natural, while cases involving “organic”…
Another consumer class action over allegedly false and misleading “natural” claims survived a motion to dismiss in the Southern District of New York on May 15, 2014.  At issue in Ault v. J.M. Smucker Co. is whether “All Natural” claims made on labels of Smucker’s Crisco branded vegetable oils are false and misleading.  The plaintiffs allege in their complaint that the claim is misleading for two reasons: 1) the oils are derived from genetically modified…
In 2009, the FTC issued revised Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising and many expected a rash of enforcement in that area. The FTC also has promised to scrutinize statements made in the context of talk shows, which the FTC believes may constitute advertising. Although the FTC has brought a few cases challenging advertisers failure to disclose a material connection (see Spokeo, Reverb, and Legacy Learning cases) this area…
The FTC scored two recent victories in advertising cases litigated in California, and, in both cases, the court accepted the FTC’s view of the world with little exception.  You can expect that the FTC will cite to these cases frequently going forward. Lights of America In 2010, the FTC sued Lights of America Inc. and its principals in the Central District of California alleging that the company overstated the light output and life expectancy of…
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, along with all of their corresponding regulations, create a complex and uniform system of food labeling requirements.  Neither of these statutes provides for a private right of action, but more and more consumer class action and other claims are being brought, under both federal and state law, based on alleged violations of federal food labeling regulations. This intersection between…
In its most recent effort to police the accuracy of environmental claims, the FTC took action against Down to Earth Designs, Inc. marketers of gDiapers, a product that consists of a reusable outer “pant” and removable inserts.  The agency alleges that the company ran afoul of the requirements for environmental claims laid out in the FTC’s “Green Guides” by making unqualified claims that the gDiaper inserts and wipes are plastic free, compostable, and biodegradable when…
With worries over antibiotic-resistant “super bugs” on the rise, many consumers may assume that antibacterial soaps would help protect against unwanted bugs: not so fast, says the FDA.  Amongst growing concerns that the active ingredient in many of these soaps, triclosan, could be linked to hormonal effects and bacterial resistance, on December 17th, FDA published a proposed rule that would require makers of antibacterial soaps and body washes to prove that their products are safe…