The USDA and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) have set forth the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (“the Rule”) for labeling food products that have been genetically modified. The Rule requires food companies to disclose information about bioengineered food and food ingredient content by labeling such food as “BE” (bioengineered). According to its summary, the purposes of the Rule are to share information with consumers and to minimize implementation and compliance costs that would otherwise be passed on to consumers.

The USDA is proposing two lists:

  • highly adopted bioengineered crops (e.g. canola, field corn, cotton, soybeans and sugar beets); and
  • bioengineered crops that are not highly adopted (e.g. non-browning apples, sweet corn, papayas, potatoes and summer squash varieties).

Foods containing highly adopted crops would be required to be labeled as bioengineered. Otherwise, foods containing crops that are not highly adopted would be required to be labeled that they “may be bioengineered” or “may contain bioengineered ingredients.”Continue Reading Industry Insights: GMO Labeling Update

Alonso v. Bauducco Foods Inc., No. 502017ca012068 (Fl. Circuit Ct. – Palm Beach Cnty.): Putative class action for violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, negligent misrepresentation, breach of express warranty and unjust enrichment. Plaintiff alleges Defendant advertised its cracker products as being “all natural” despite the fact that the products contain “artificial, synthetic and/or genetically modified ingredients.”
Continue Reading New Filings – November 15, 2017

food-lit-imagePerkins Coie has published its first Food Litigation Year in Review, covering key developments and trends in food litigation for calendar year 2016.  The Year in Review’s key insights include data-driven assessments of how (and where) the plaintiffs’ bar has continued its assault on the food industry in 2016. That data reflect the filing

In re Kind LLC “Healthy and All Natural” Litig., No. 1:15-md-02645 (S.D.N.Y.): The Court entered an order granting in part Defendants’ motion to dismiss this consolidated putative class action asserting violations of multiple states’ consumer protection laws and raising claims for breach of express warranty, unjust enrichment, and negligent misrepresentation.  Plaintiffs allege Defendants deceptively marketed its snack food products with labels including the words “healthy,” “all natural,” and/or “non GMO.”
Continue Reading Court Grants Defendants’ Motion, Staying Consolidated Action Involving “Healthy and All Natural” Claim on Primary Jurisdiction Grounds

A bill to create federal labeling standards for food products containing genetically modified organisms was passed by the House of Representatives yesterday, by a vote of 306 to 117. The bill, which was approved by the Senate last week, is now on its way to the President, who is expected to the sign the bill

On Tuesday, March 1, 2016, members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (“Agriculture Committee”) voted to advance a bill that would bar states from imposing labeling requirements on foods containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.  The proposed legislation received a bipartisan vote of 14-6. 

The legislation proposed by Agriculture Committee Chairman,

Gallagher v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. 3:15-cv-3952 (N.D. Cal.): The Court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss with leave to amend in this putative class action alleging violations of California’s CLRA, FAL, and UCL. Plaintiff raises claims that Defendant, Chipotle Mexican Grill, misled consumers by claiming that it is the first national company in the food industry to serve a menu devoid of GMOs, when in fact its products contain GMOs (or, rather, are grown using GMO feed). The Court found that Plaintiff failed to plead that she had standing to bring her claims because she had not adequately alleged what economic injury that she suffered as a result of Defendant’s purported misrepresentations. Although Plaintiff had only claimed that meat, dairy products, and sodas at Chipotle contained GMOs, she failed to plead what exactly she purchased at the chain, and therefore had not shown that she suffered any economic loss. Further, the Court also found that Plaintiff’s failure to allege that she intends to purchase Defendant’s food products in the future meant that she had not alleged “a real and immediate threat” of future injury sufficient to have standing to seek injunctive relief.
Continue Reading Chipotle Wraps Up Dismissal of GMO Feed Case

Hawai’i Floriculture & Nursery Association v. County of Hawaii, No. 14-00267 BMK (D. Haw.):  A Hawaii federal judge struck down a Hawaii County ordinance that limits the growth of genetically modified crops, finding it was preempted by the federal Plant Protection Act and Hawaii state law.  The ordinance would have banned most genetically modified crops

Oregon’s GMO labeling initiative failed by 837 votes after an automatic recount.  After the November 4, 2014, election, Measure 92 failed by only 812 votes, triggering an automatic recount.  Oregon’s 36 counties completed their recounts on December 13, 2014, showing that Measure 92 failed  in an overall vote of 752,737 in favor and 753,574 against,