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Consumers May Sue Over Misuse of “Organic” Label

Posted Dec 4, 2015

The California Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Quesada v. Herb Thyme Farms that consumers have the right to file lawsuits under California law alleging food products are falsely labelled “organic”. The ruling overturned a lower court decision that barred such suits on the grounds that they were superseded and not allowed by federal law (Organic Foods Production Act, P.L.101-624 ).  The opinion read, in part, “A central purpose behind adopting a clear national definition of organic production was to permit consumers to rely on organic labels and curtail fraud.  Accordingly, state lawsuits alleging intentional organic mislabeling promote, rather than hinder, Congress’s purposes and objectives.  Because the Court of Appeal concluded to the contrary, finding these state fraud claims impliedly preempted, we reverse judgment”.   Read articles in Metropolitan News-Enterprise and Los Angeles Times.