A California federal court has dismissed with prejudice a putative class action alleging that Hain Celestial Group Inc. mislabels its vegetable juice products as “organic” and “raw” one day before a proposed class action was filed against the company in New York federal court alleging similar claims about its baby foods and home care products. Alamilla, et al. v. Hain Celestial Group, Inc., No. 13–5595 (U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Cal., order entered July 2, 2014); Segedie v. The Hain Celestial Group, Inc., No. 14–5029 (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D.N.Y., filed July 3, 2014). The California court dismissed the case based on two articles cited and incorporated into the complaint concluding that “pressurization has ‘little or no effects’ on nutritional and sensory quality aspects of foods,” which contradicted the plaintiffs’ argument that the treatment deprives the juice of nutritional value and that the company’s representations that it does not cook the juice are thus misleading. As a result of this internal contradiction, the court dismissed the case with prejudice.
The following day, different plaintiffs filed a putative class action alleging that Hain misleadingly labeled as “organic” and “all natural” its infant, baby and kids foods as well as home and baby care products. Calling the products “chemical soup,” the complaint accuses Hain of including as many as 26 ingredients not permitted in organic foods under federal law in its Earth’s Best Organic Infant Formula. The plaintiffs assert 10 causes of action, including violations of the California Organic Products Act and the New York General Business Law, and seek class certification, an order accounting for money Hain earned as a result of its alleged mislabeling, monetary damages, statutory damages, punitive damages, and an injunction.