Menu Locations
Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C.
Free Initial Consultations
Toll-free:TF 877-619-8966
California:CA 424-285-6006
Illinois:IL 312-292-9296
Ohio:OH 216-220-6496
Send an SMS

Court okays consumer fraud actions against food mislabeling

The federal government, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has the authority to regulate the labeling and marketing of organic foods. It also gives permission to retailers to affix the word 'organic' on the labels of approved products. For that reason, a California state court ruled that a consumer could not bring a state class action against a grower and seller of herbs that billed its herbs as being 100 percent organic. The plaintiff alleged that the seller committed consumer fraud because it knew that it was really marketing a product that had non-organic materials mixed in with organic.

The defendant, Herb Thyme Farms, had argued that the federal agency gave it permission to use the organic label and that federal law pre-empted the state action. The plaintiff-consumer appealed to the California Supreme Court, which overturned the decision and ruled that the state court action for consumer fraud could continue despite the primacy of federal law. The Court, in a unanimous decision, explained that the state action did not go against federal authority but rather complemented the efforts of the federal government to define and identify the existence of true organic products.

Citizens of California can now clearly file class action suits in state court, alleging violations of state law prohibitions against deceptive product advertising and labeling. The decision of the Court revives the dismissed class action and sends it back for further proceedings. The plaintiff must still prove her case and convince the trial judge to certify the class.

She must prove her charge that the grower was mixing regularly grown products in with the organically grown ones. The California Supreme Court also pointed out that when Congress started to regulate organic product labeling, it left to the states the power to continue to police consumer fraud abuses relating to improper use of the 'organic' characterization. The Court also explained that the state had a history for two hundred years of regulating such local policy matters that were directly related to protecting consumers.

Source: naturalproductsinsider.com, "California Ruling Opens Door to 'Organic??? Food Lawsuits", Josh Long, Dec. 10, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

When You've Had Enough, Contact Us For A Free Initial Consultation

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Get An Attorney Response

Headquartered in Beverly Hills, we accept cases throughout California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia

Schedule a Free Consultation:
Toll Free: 877-619-8966
| Local: 424-285-6006 |
Fax: 866-633-0228
| Email Our Firm


  • Law Offices of Todd M. Friedman, P.C.
    324 S Beverly Blvd, Suite 725
    Beverly Hills, CA 90212

    (Mailing Address Only)

  • Orange County Office
    245 Fischer Ave., Suite D-1
    Costa Mesa, CA 92626
    Map & Directions

  • Woodland Hills Office
    21550 Oxnard St
    Suite 780
    Woodland Hills, CA 91367
    Map & Directions

  • King of Prussia Office
    1150 First Ave., Suite 501
    King of Prussia, PA 19406
    Map & Directions

  • Chicago Office
    111 West Jackson Blvd., Suite 1700
    Chicago, IL 60604
    Phone: 312-292-9296
    Map & Directions

  • Ohio/West Virginia Office ¬†
    Fifth Third Building, 600 Superior Avenue East,
    Suite 1300, Cleveland, OH 44114
    Phone: 216-220-6496
    Map & Directions