A consumer has filed a projected class action against Drew’s LLC, maker of Drew’s salad dressings and marinades, alleging the company misrepresents its products as “all natural” because they contain xanthan gum, disodium phosphate, lactic acid and citric acid. Haack v. Drew’s LLC, No. 16-6022 (S.D.N.Y., filed July 28, 2016). The complaint cites draft guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture distinguishing natural and synthetic ingredients and guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to support the argument that a reasonable consumer would be confused by the company’s use of “natural” on its packaging.
“Consumers lack the meaningful ability to test or independently ascertain or verify whether a product is natural, especially at the point of sale,” the plaintiff asserts. “Consumers would not know the true Nature of the ingredients merely by reading the ingredients label.” For alleged fraud and violations of New York and other state consumer-protection laws, the plaintiff seeks class certification, an injunction, treble damages and attorney’s fees.