Yes, Shampoo Grows on Trees: The Ninth Circuit, “Natural,” and the Need for FDA Clarification

davidwallacehsfcomLGSmichaelkellyhsfcomLGSGuest Commentary

by David L. Wallace and Michael R. Kelly, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP*

It is often said in food-labeling class actions that the term “natural” is vague and undefined. Until recently, there was little reason to believe that the Food and Drug Administration would take action to define “natural,” and there still is no legal definition or common consumer understanding of what the term means. That uncertainty puts sellers at risk because the term can carry different meanings for different consumers. But what about situations in which context plainly limits the term’s meaning, or in which the consumer doesn’t bother alleging a particular understanding of the term “natural,” or asserts a belief that strains credulity? Continue reading “Yes, Shampoo Grows on Trees: The Ninth Circuit, “Natural,” and the Need for FDA Clarification”