A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging Outernational Brands, Inc. mislabels its Vivaloe aloe-vera beverages as “All Natural” and preservative-free even though the products contain citric acid. Chen v. Outernational Brands, Inc., No. 16-1634 (E.D.N.Y., filed April 4, 2016).
“The term ‘All Natural’ only applies to those products that contain no non-natural or synthetic ingredients and consist entirely of ingredients that are only minimally processed,” the complaint asserts. The plaintiff argues that the presence of citric acid, “which is not extracted from citric fruits but industrially synthesized via complex chemical synthetic routes and thus cannot be considered ‘minimally processed,’” precludes Outernational from labeling Vivaloe as “All Natural” or free of preservatives.
The complaint admits the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not defined “natural,” but argues “there is no reasonable definition of ‘All Natural’ that includes ingredients that, even if sourced from ‘nature,’ are subjected to extensive transformative chemical processing before their inclusion in a product.” For allegations of misrepresentation and New York consumer-protection law violations, the plaintiff seeks class certification, compensatory and punitive damages, an injunction, restitution and attorney’s fees.