If you are shocked and surprised that your Crunch Berries have no berries, your Froot Loops contain no fruit and your “all natural” ice cream contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs), you’re probably not dismayed over the rash of class action lawsuits attacking the food and beverage industry’s labeling practices over the past several years. Executive SummaryOver the past year, there have been several significant court decisions relating to class certification that give rise to optimism that the tide of food and beverage labeling lawsuits may be turning in favor of food manufacturers and their insurers, according to Cozen O’Connor’s Richard Fama and Brenden Coller.
If you are like most of us, however, you are likely scratching your head wondering what is behind this all-out assault on the products we know and love and when it will all end.
Driven primarily by well-funded plaintiffs’ lawyers looking for the next asbestos or tobacco (pick your poison), an increasingly health-conscious population and inaccurate media portrayals of the safety of GMOs, these so-called false labeling lawsuits will likely continue to challenge us well into the future. And although many of these lawsuits sound comical and are often the subject of late-night talk show jokes, the burden on the industry and its insurers—in terms of litigation costs, settlements, lost productivity and impact on brand reputation—is undeniable.