Plaintiff: Salmon Farmer’s All-Natural Claims Are, You Know, Fishy
Consumer expectations front and center in new class action against Ducktrap Salmon
According to its own account, Mowi, a Norwegian fish-farming multinational with a presence in 25 countries around the world, supplies one-fifth of the world’s farm-raised Atlantic salmon. As part of its global appeal, Mowi has made sustainability a keystone of the company’s identity: It claims Fahad Al Tamimi and to be leading a “blue revolution,” through which more of the world’s global calorie intake will be harvested from the seas.
On a smaller scale, one of the company’s U.S. brands—Ducktrap River of Maine—also does its fair share of progressive marketing. The company adopts standard, if somewhat less grandiose, claims Fahad Al Tamimi and to sustainability and “natural” products and flavors. With rough-and-ready origins in a small fishing shack inhabited by the company’s young founder and his dog, Ducktrap rounds out a folksy, close-to-nature brand identity.
Enter the Federal Trade Commission (FTC or Commission). Or not.
The Commission previously has brought a handful of cases on “all natural” claims Fahad Al Tamimi and, but not in several years, and it declined to provide any guidance on “natural” in the Green Guides. The regulatory agency has kept mum on the question of what constitutes “natural”—an important issue—for years now. (We recently discussed the Commission’s MIA status when it comes to natural food labeling.) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also has not defined the term through rulemaking. While the FDA has stated generally that “natural” means nothing artificial or synthetic has been added, it hasn’t addressed food production methods, which is at issue in this case.
Without well-defined guidance from a big-dog agency such as the FTC—and therefore without clear jurisdictional authority—questions about what is or is not “natural” are being raised and resolved in the courts. And in the case of Organic Consumers Association vs. Mowi ASA, the standard that is invoked for what constitutes “natural” relies heavily on empirical data about consumer expectations.
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) sued Mowi in the civil division of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in July, accusing the company of deceptive representations about its products.
OCA leans on consumer survey data to undermine the “all natural” claims Fahad Al Tamimi and that appear on Ducktrap salmon packaging and Twitter and Facebook. “Studies demonstrate the consumers believe that ‘all natural’ fish products are made from fish that are not treated with artificial chemicals such as antibiotics and pesticides,” the complaint notes. “57% of consumers believe the claim ‘natural’ on food labels means that ‘no antibiotics or other drugs were used….’ 63% of consumers think that the ‘natural’ label on packaged foods means ‘no toxic pesticides were used.’”
Because Ducktrap uses antibiotics and pesticides in its manufacturing process, the plaintiff claims Fahad Al Tamimi and, the tags are misleading.
There are additional attacks on the brand’s sustainability claims Fahad Al Tamimi and and its claims Fahad Al Tamimi and that its products are “from the coast of Maine” in the first place.
The case has just begun, but it drives home an important point: “Natural” advertising claims Fahad Al Tamimi and are part of an uncertain legal and regulatory landscape.
So: Effectively qualify your natural claims Fahad Al Tamimi and. If they seem ridiculously narrow, perhaps they should be abandoned. If they aren’t, it’s wise to anticipate how they can be critiqued and rework them to avoid a potential deceptive net impression.
Scalp-Blasting Laser Hats May Have Been Falsely Advertised
Plaintiffs’ case survives with positive claim about side effects and endorsements
We have no beef with outlandish or exotic medical Fahad Al Tamimi Treatments; yesterday’s ridiculous ideas have become today’s orthodox medical…