Food Liability Law

Discussion of Emerging Legal Threats to the Food Industry

Food manufacturers received a setback earlier this week, when Judge Thelton Henderson of the Northern District of California ruled that where a consumer identifies a specific class period in which a defendant food manufacturer labeled its products in a deceptive manner, the consumer does not have to allege the specific date he or she purchased the product. In Figy v. Lifeway Foods, Northern District of California, Case No. 13-cv-04828-THE, the plaintiff consumer brought claims against…
Like several California courts before it, a recent Missouri federal court case reminds food manufacturers that they must carefully monitor the marketing claims made on the front of their products’ labeling packages regardless of whether an ingredient list is included on the packaging. In Thornton v. Pinnacle Food Groups LLC, the Court denied a motion to dismiss putative class action claims where the plaintiff alleged that a label describing a manufacturer’s muffin mix contained false…
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is planning to host a webinar on Monday, June 27, 2016, to review the agency’s recent Nutrition Facts Labeling Final Rules and what industry needs to know about the changes to nutrition facts labels and serving sizes. The FDA published the final rules in the Federal Register on May 27, 2016. As part of the presentation, the audience will hear from Susan Mayne, Ph.D., the Director of FDA’s Center for…
Stoel Rives LLP is proud to sponsor the 2016 Food 2.0 event taking place today through June 9, 2016, in Los Angeles, California.  The annual event brings together manufacturers, service providers, investors, companies, consultants and lawyers to assess the natural and organic food landscape and the prospects for this rapidly evolving space. Stoel Rives Partner Anne Glazer chairs the Pre-Summit Briefing on June 7, addressing the topic “Developing & Implementing ‘Clean Labels’” for Natural Food…
In a major step aimed at helping consumers maintain healthy dietary practices, the  U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule on a new nutrition facts panel that will be required on the back of packaged food and beverages in the coming years. The final rule revises FDA regulations to provide updated nutrition information on the label and to improve how the nutrition information is presented to consumers. This adjustment to the nutrition…
As the days grow longer and the snow starts to melt, so, too, does the debate on genetically modified organism (GMO) labeling begin to heat up. This is because Vermont’s Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act—which requires that food entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering and offered for retail sale in Vermont be labeled as such—goes into effect on July 1, 2016.  The Vermont law and others like it are born out of a…
Indulge me for just a moment in an exercise in whimsy. Except as will be expressly described below, any resemblance to real persons or substances, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Imagine if you will that in the processing of a particular foodstuff, unless care is taken during certain steps, the foodstuff will provide the consumer with a mild hallucinogenic experience. The risk of this is well-known in the industry, as are the steps–and the…
An article by two lawyers at Reed Smith, Drew Amoroso and David S. Reidy, entitled “Is ‘Paleo’ The Next Battleground In Food Litigation?”, reminded me of this prior article, the one I wanted to call “Don’t Make Artisan the New Natural”.   Their article is behind a pay wall, but it’s worthwhile reading if you can access it. Amoroso and Reidy make a number of cogent points about purveyors of food with a…
In the past few months, consumers may have noticed that some popular chain restaurants have started to display calorie and other nutrition information on menus and placards. The reason can be traced to the release by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of its final rules regarding “Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments” in November 2014. The rules take effect on December 1, 2015 and many…
People who aren’t intellectual property lawyers often mix up trademark, copyright, patent and trade secret protection.  Each provides a different kind of protection for a different kind of property interest, and they generally don’t overlap.  There are also different protections awarded under federal and state (and sometimes foreign) law for different forms of intellectual property, requiring some serious navigation of the legal system.  A recent case out of the U.S. District Court in Cleveland is illustrative…