In Lawyer World, Verifiable Fact on Package Renders Food “Mislabeled”

Do we want food labeling rules to be set by class action lawyers on a lawsuit-by-lawsuit basis?

Millions of potato chips are eaten every day. People enjoy them alone or as a compliment to a sandwich. Ben & Jerry’s even incorporated them (covered with fudge) into one of their ice creams. It’s no revelation to say, however, that potato chips aren’t a health food. Companies producing them have been working to make them healthier, though altering their recipes in recent years to reduce fats, sodium, and calories. To let consumers know, some have added statments like “0 grams Trans Fat” to the front of the chip bag. This information is useful, but it’s reasonable to assume that for most consumers, this fact alone doesn’t change their perception of potato chips in the grand scheme of which foods are healthy, and which are less so.

In the parallel universe populated by overreaching regulators and plaintiffs’ attorneys, however, “0 grams Trans Fat” is unlawfully misleading and renders the potato chip package “misbranded.” That, in turn, allows those who were duped into believing that such chips, in the words of a new lawsuit, “made only positive contributions to a diet,” to sue the manufacturer.

Wilson v. Frito-Lay is the latest food-related consumer class action lawsuit, filed last month on March 29 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (which has become for “misled” food consumers what the Eastern District of Texas is for patent trolls). . . . .

Continue reading this post at WLF’s Forbes.com contributor site.

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