The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed with prejudice consumer protection claims filed against two companies that make snack bars with extra fiber, finding the claims preempted under federal law. Turek v. General Mills, Inc., No. 10-3267 (7th Cir., decided October 17, 2011) .
According to the court, “The disclaimers that the plaintiff wants added to the labeling of the defendants’ inulin-containing chewy bars are not identical to the labeling requirements imposed on such products by federal law, and so they are barred.” The plaintiff had sought the inclusion of information on chewy bar product labels indicating that inulin derived from chicory root “produces fewer health benefits than a product that contains only ‘natural’ fiber,” and that “inulin from chicory root should not be consumed by pregnant or lactating women.”
Among other matters, the Seventh Circuit explained the desirability of uniform federal rules relating to food products, stating “It is easy to see why Congress would not want to allow states to impose disclosure requirements of their own on packaged food products, most of which are sold nationwide. Manufacturers might have to print 50 different labels, driving consumers who buy food products in more than one state crazy.”