Amnesty International recently released a report alleging that supply chains for production of palm oil—a common ingredient in many consumer products—are tainted by forced and child labor. In the nearly 150-page report titled “The Great Palm Oil Scandal: Labour Abuses Behind Big Brand Names,” Amnesty International accuses several major brand-name consumer goods companies of sourcing palm oil from suppliers that operate plantations where the alleged abuses took place.

The report has already received substantial media attention, including articles published by Forbes, The Washington Post, Reuters and Yahoo News. Although the accuracy of the report’s assertions have not been tested, it nonetheless emphasizes the growing importance of proper diligence in supply chain management and compliance with associated legal obligations for a company’s disclosures about its supply chain practices.Continue Reading Palm Oil Supply Chain Abuses Reported by Amnesty International: Steps to Mitigate Legal Risk

Brazil v. Dole Packaged Foods, LLC, No. 14-17480 (9th Cir.):  In an unpublished decision, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district Court’s dismissal on summary judgment of Plaintiff’s claims under the UCL, FAL, and CLRA, but upheld the district Court’s denial of class certification in this closely watched case alleging that the use of the

Fonseca v. Goya Foods, Inc., No. 5:16-cv-02559 (N.D. Cal.): The Court entered an order granting in part Defendant’s motion to dismiss this putative class action for breach of express and implied warranties, breach of the implied warranty of fitness, unjust enrichment, and violations of California’s CLRA, UCL, FAL, negligent misrepresentation, and fraud, which alleged that

Torrent v. Ollivier, et al., No. 2:15-cv-02511 (C.D. Cal.): The Court entered an order granting in part Defendant’s motion to dismiss this putative class action for violations of California’s CLRA and UCL, which alleged that Defendants falsely advertised that its goji berries were harvested from the Himalayas, when they, in fact, came from the

Yesterday lawmakers on the Senate Agriculture Committee reached a bipartisan agreement to require labeling of foods with genetically engineered ingredients.  The law would set a mandatory national system for disclosure on food products and will preempt states from enacting their own labeling standards regarding genetically engineered food products.
Continue Reading National GMO Labeling Standard on the Horizon

On June 16, 2016, Evan Parent’s claims fell flat for the second time in a closely watched consumer class action alleging that MillerCoors falsely represents that Blue Moon beer is brewed by a small, independent microbrew.

In October 2015, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel dismissed Parent’s original complaint accusing MillerCoors of deceptively representing Blue Moon beer as a “craft beer” on the basis that California’s safe harbor exception to its consumer protection laws applied to claims alleging that MillerCoors’ hid its ownership of Blue Moon by not including its name on the bottle or outer packaging of the beer.Continue Reading Perkins Coie Crafts Victory for MillerCoors

Consumer Advocacy Grp. v. Olivier Napa Valley, Inc. et al, No. BC580857 (Cal. Super. Ct. – Los Angeles County):  The Court granted Plaintiff’s unopposed motion for entry of consent judgment in this Proposition 65 action alleging that Defendants’ raspberry balsamic vinegar products contain lead. The terms of the settlement are: (1) Defendant is permanently enjoined

Saeidian v. The Coca Cola Co., No. 2:09-cv-6309 (C.D. Cal.): Plaintiff filed an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of class action settlement in this putative class action alleging violations of California’s UCL and FAL, based on the allegation that Defendant’s Minute Maid brand juice products were deceptively marketed as containing primarily blueberry and pomegranate

McGee v. Diamond Foods, Inc., No. 3:14-cv-2446 (S.D. Cal.): In a putative class action alleging claims under California’s UCL, public nuisance, and breach of implied warranty based on the contention that the use of PHOs in popcorn products is inherently unfair, the Court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss without prejudice.

With respect to Plaintiffs’ Article III standing, the Court held that Plaintiff lacked standing because she had not alleged a current or credible threat of physical injury. The Court also found that the complaint did not sufficiently allege a credible threat of future harm because Plaintiff failed to show how consuming the popcorn products “once every two or three months over three years” would substantially increase her risk of any disease let alone a probability that the harm would be substantial.  With respect to economic harm, the Court found Plaintiffs allegations insufficient, holding that the purchase of a product that is “less healthy than expected” is not a sufficient economic injury.  The Court further held that Plaintiff received the benefit of her bargain by consuming the popcorn and that Plaintiff’s case was distinguishable from the authority she cited because she had not alleged that the labeling on the products deceived her in any way and did not allege that she would have purchased an alternative product but for Defendants’ representations.
Continue Reading Court Grants Motion to Dismiss in PHO Popcorn Case

Bassolino v. Whole Foods Group Inc., No. 1:15-cv-6046 (S.D.N.Y.): The Court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss this consolidated class action that followed the heels of an investigation by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (“DCA”). Plaintiffs asserted violations of New York’s GBL and Executive Law and raised claims of unjust enrichment and