Another Unappetizing Class Action Ruling from The Food Court

Cross-posted at Forbes.com’s WLF contributor site

We’ve commented previously on the class action litigation exploits of California consumer Skye Astiana and her efforts to save Americans from “unnatural” products. One of the cases in which Ms. Astiana is a lead plaintiff, Astiana v. Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, survived a motion to dismiss recently, a development which underscores the havoc such lawsuit-by-lawsuit regulation can wreak on food packaging and marketing.

The judge who authored the Astiana ruling sits on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, or as we’d like to call it, The Food Court*.

Dreyer’s sells ice cream under the Dreyer’s, Edy’s, and Haagen-Dazs brands. The allegedly offending term on the package of some Dreyer’s and Edy’s products is “All Natural Flavors,” while the term in question on some Haagen-Dazs products is “All Natural Ice Cream.” Because ‘ used (gasp!) potassium carbonate rather than sodium carbonate to alkalize cocoa, any product labeled “natural” which contains such cocoa, according to the suit, is mislabeled. Dreyers argued that federal regulations permitted it to use such terms, but Judge Edward Chen disagreed, ruling that Astiana’s claims under the California §17200 law should proceed. Continue reading “Another Unappetizing Class Action Ruling from The Food Court”