- Ag Docket
The plaintiffs claimed that the defendant, a potato chip manufacturer, violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) by falsely labeling and maketing sixteen different varieties of potato chips as "all natural" chips that contain "no preservatives" when the chips are actually not all natural and do contain preservatives. However, the court dismissed the suit primarily because the plaintiff failed to define "natural." The court rejected the dictionary definition of "natural" because potato chips are a processed food product. Likewise, an FDA advisory opinion was not binding because it did not involve the FDA's formal adoption of a definition of the term. Also, the USDA definition was inadequate because it only applied to meat and poultry products, and the USSDA's definition of "synthetic" only applied to products in the National Organic Program. As to the plaintiffs' claim that the use of the phrase "no preservatives" was misleading, the court noted a complete lack of evidence that "no preservatives" actually showed up on the package labels. The court observed that the packages provided enough information for the plaintiffs to avoid products with ingredients they objected to. An injunction would not issue, the court held, because the plaintiffs testified that they wouldn't buy the products anyway. The putative class claims were dismissed. Kelly, et al. v. Cape Cod Potato Chip Company, Inc., No. 14-00119-CV-W-DW, 2015 U.S. dist. LEXIS 8988 (W.D. Mo. Jan. 27, 2015).
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