As Lawsuits Mount over Food Labeling, Some Companies Avoid Litigation

Back in July we wrote a blog post on PepsiCo’s lawsuit over the use of the term “natural” for their popular naked juice product. The post was focused mainly on the difficulty of the situation with regard to the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has no clear definition as to what foods can actually be considered natural. While it considers any food without synthetic additives or other ingredients that are not already part of the food item itself natural, others argue that the term natural would only apply to food that has come directly from the earth. The countless lawsuits related to mislabeling over the past couple of years highlight the fact that there is a lack of agreement on the definition of the word.

As healthy eating becomes increasingly important in the United States, food items labeled “all natural” have contributed to a huge surge in the sale of health foods. While many companies want to capitalize on this growing trend, others are wary to use the term amidst the many lawsuits related to false advertising.

Congress is currently considering a “food modernization” bill that seeks to clarify the FDA’s murky definition of what can be considered natural and labeled as such. Until such a bill passes, it seems that if food companies want to avoid the costly litigation experienced by many of their counterparts, they should remove any labeling that can be considered deceptive.

While PepsiCo may have found it worth the risk to rely on the ambiguity of the FDA’s definition of the term natural, other companies seem to be pulling back to avoid unnecessary litigation.

The Patterson Law Firm handles a wide range of business cases benefiting both businesses and consumers. To learn more about our firm, visit pattersonlawfirm.com or call (312) 223-1699.

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