Court Finds Private Right of Action for Mislabeled Organic Products.

The defendant is a large herb grower that became the subject of a class action accusing the defendant of mixing organic and conventionally grown herbs in the same package and selling the package at a premium as "fresh organic."  The class sued under state (CA) unfair competition and false advertising laws.  The trial court held that the class action was preempted by federal law governing organic labeling.   On appeal, the CA Supreme Court reversed.  The court noted that the federal Organic Foods Act displaced state law concerning organic standards and thereby created a federal definition of "organic" and created a federal organic certification procedure.  The court, however, determined that federal law did not either explicitly or implicitly preempt state rules for mislabeling.  Likewise, the court held that state consumer protection law furthered the Congressional objective of ensuring reliable organic standards.  Quesada v. Herb Thyme Farms, No. S216305, 2015 Cal. LEXIS 9481 (Cal. Sup. Ct. Dec. 3, 2015).