In recent years, the number of consumer class actions challenging health and nutrition marketing claims made in relation to food and drinks has expanded dramatically. The courts are still developing a consistent approach to handling these cases. However, trends are emerging.
At the essence of these health-related claims is the plaintiffs’ contention that the defendants promised them something that they did not receive. For example, there has been a series of suits challenging the use of the term “natural” or “all natural” to describe food products. Many of these cases challenge a defendant’s use of some processed or synthetic ingredient. An early focus of suits challenging the term “all natural” focused on products that contained high-fructose corn syrup marketed as “all natural.” Other “all natural” challenges have focused on foods containing trans fats, genetically modified ingredients, and processed ingredients that do not occur in “nature.”