A California federal court has granted The Kroger Co.’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging the company’s bread-crumbs product includes partially hydrogenated oil, which contains trans fat, despite labeling the product as “0g Trans Fat.” Hawkins v. Kroger Co., No. 15-2320 (S.D. Cal., order entered March 17, 2016).
The court found that the mislabeling claims failed for two reasons. First, a challenge to a “0g Trans Fat” labeling claim is preempted, the court said, because U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations require that foods with less than one-half of a gram of trans fat be labeled as “0g.” Second, the plaintiff failed to prove actual reliance on the allegedly deceptive statements, the court found, rejecting her argument that she “is a busy person and cannot reasonably inspect every ingredient of every food that she purchases” despite having bought the bread crumbs six times per year for 15 years but only noticing the trans fat claim in August 2015. “Plaintiff cannot possibly have relied on the allegedly false statement because she purchased [the product] for 15 years before learning of the statement,” the court said. Accordingly, the court concluded the plaintiff did not have standing to sue and dismissed the case.