Recently, there has been a sharp increase in threatened class action lawsuits against food and beverage clients distributing products in California. Generally, these lawsuits allege that the label of the product or the advertising for the product contains false or misleading statements and violates the California Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Consumer Legal Remedies Act. We have defended a number of these claims for our clients and have advised them on how to resolve these matters quickly and protect themselves in the future.

Most of these cases involve attorneys claiming that a food or beverage product that is sold in California does not have the properties it claims (e.g., the product allegedly is not "all natural" or lacks certain health benefits or ingredients claimed to be described by the labeling) and the plaintiff along with other members of the class have been harmed by spending money to purchase the product based on the label or advertising. Often, these cases involve companies that are not located in California and are unaware of the compliance issues associated with California laws that allow consumers to sue companies that distribute products for sale in California in violation of the various provisions of the California Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law, and Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

Anyone that operates in the food or beverage space should be aware of these compliance and litigation risks.