August 20, 2014 Articles

Sense Ahead: What Is In Store for Food/Beverage Labeling Claims?

By Vivian Quinn and Tracey Ehlers

Recent years have seen an uptick in lawsuits attacking food and beverage labeling practices, such as use of “all natural” or whether to include genetically-modified-organism (GMO) information on labels. However, class certification has experienced mixed results. It comes as no surprise that class status will be denied where class representatives and putative class members did not save proof of purchase (i.e., receipts) and are otherwise unable to establish that they purchased the product allegedly at issue. Nonetheless, creative plaintiffs’ counsel continue to develop novel moves hoping to “save” their cases in the consumer-litigation context. A full discussion of class certification, preemption, primary jurisdiction, and Food and Drug Administration regulatory scheme would be too lengthy. We hope, however, to convey a sense of what lies ahead regarding class certification and ways courts and the legislature may approach claims involving food and beverage labeling.

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