Shook Partner Frank Cruz-Alvarez and Associate Ravika Rameshwar have authored an article for the Washington Legal Foundation’s Legal Pulse discussing a New York federal court’s dismissal of a class action centered on infant formula marketed as organic. The complaint alleged that Abbott Laboratories, Inc. represented its Similac® Advance® as organic despite containing ingredients prohibited in organic products by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Cruz-Alvarez and Rameshwar provide an overview of the case and detail the relevant provisions of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, which establishes that a product can be labeled “organic” if a USDA- accredited agency certifies it as such. The court compared the infant formula allegations to a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit case challenging the organic label of milk and reached an analogous conclusion: the state laws supporting the complaint challenged the federal law’s certification determination and were thus preempted. Accordingly, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s complaint but granted leave to amend.
Additional details on the dismissal appear in Issue 615 of this Update.