In consolidated actions pending since 2010, a federal court in California has entered a final order approving a class-action settlement that will require Quaker Oats Co. to remove partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs) from some of its oatmeal products and cease making the statement “contains a dietarily insignificant amount of trans fat” on any product label where the product still contains more than 0.2 grams of artificial trans fat per serving. In re Quaker Oats Labeling Litig., No. 10-0502 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., San Jose Div., order entered July 29, 2014). Details about a court ruling trimming the plaintiffs’ claims that the company falsely advertised products with PHOs as healthy appear in Issue 433 of this Update.
According to the court’s order awarding $760,000 to class counsel in attorney’s fees and costs, the suit and settlement conferred “a significant benefit . . . on the general public” given the product reformulations, estimated at a cost to the company of some $1.4 million. The company has also reportedly agreed not to introduce PHOs into any products at issue in the litigation or into any Quaker Chewy Bars and Instant Quaker Oatmeal products, which do not currently contain PHOs, for 10 years. Quaker Oats continues to deny the plaintiffs’ allegations. See Law360, July 30, 2014.