The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent unanimous ruling in Pom Wonderful LLC v. Coca-Cola Co. make food and beverage labels more vulnerable to false advertising claims. That is the warning issued in the recent alert: Is your food and beverage label now susceptible to attack?
The issue under consideration in the case, which originated in 2008, was the interplay between two federal laws: the Food Drug & Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and the Lanham Act. Prior to the ruling, compliance with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeling regulations generally meant a product was immune from a claim that its labeling is deceptive or misleading with respect to those aspects of the label sanctioned by FDA regulations. Now, even if an aspect of a label is specifically required or authorized by the FDCA or FDA regulation, it still may be subject to a Lanham Act claim.
Therefore, food and beverage companies should reevaluate their marketing and labeling practices to determine whether they are vulnerable to a competitor’s claim that their labels are false or misleading. Mere compliance with FDA regulations is no longer enough.
For more information on the case and its implications, click here to read the alert in its entirety.