October 08, 2014 Articles

Will Evaporated Cane Juice Be Sweet for Class-Action Plaintiffs?

By Mark Mansour, Jonathan Berman, Emily K. Strunk, and Stephanie L. Resnik

The past few years have seen a remarkable growth in the number of class actions directed at food labels. Noteworthy about these cases is not merely how many have been filed but also their nature. There’s nothing novel about alleging that a product label (including a food label) is false or misleading. But many of the current cases focus not on the label’s impact on consumers, but on whether the label complies with the full regime of regulations that govern food labels. Indeed, many complaints assert that labels can be actionable because of an alleged regulatory violation, even in the absence of consumer deception. Dozens of pending complaints delve into rules familiar to food-and-drug regulatory lawyers but foreign to the vast majority of litigators.

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