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Lawsuit Alleges Plant Butter Deceptively Labeled – Food and Drugs Law



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  • A class-action lawsuit has alleged that Upfield US Inc.
    deceptively labeled its “Country Crock Plant Butter” as
    “Made with Almond Oil” and with images of almonds on the
    principal display panel when it in fact contained a blend of four
    plant-based oils, with almond butter declared as the fourth most
    predominant ingredient (and oil) on the ingredient list (after palm
    fruit oil, palm kernel oil, and canola oil).

  • The complaint alleged that almonds and almond oils have various
    health benefits and a pleasant taste, and that Defendant sought to
    take advantage of consumer demand through its “Made with
    Almond Oil” labeling. Further, it alleged that consumers would
    expect a “non-de minimis amount of almond oil, in
    relative and absolute amounts to all oils used” and that the
    declaration of almond oil on the ingredient list as the fourth most
    predominant ingredient (and oil) “reveals a negligible amount
    of almond oil in relative and absolute amounts to all oils
    used.”

  • Since an ingredient list reveals only the relative amount of
    ingredients, it is not clear how it can be claimed that almond oil
    is present in a de-minimis amount. Furthermore, the
    complaint, which is another filed by Spencer Sheehan, will face an
    uphill battle given other court rulings which have dismissed
    similar lawsuits where the defendant did not make a claim about the
    relative proportion of ingredients and accurately disclosed the
    ingredients on the ingredient list.

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