A California federal court has dismissed portions of a lawsuit alleging that B&G Foods mislabeled its taco shells as containing “0g Trans Fat” despite the product’s use of partially hydrogenated oil as an ingredient. Walker v. B&G Foods, No. 15-3772 (N.D. Cal., order entered February 8, 2016).
Five of the plaintiff’s seven claims involved alleged mislabeling of the taco shells as free of trans fat; the court disposed of the claims, finding that the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act required the trans fat level be listed as 0 grams if the content is less than one-half of a gram, thus preempting the claims. The court then turned to the non-labeling claims, through which the plaintiff argued the taco shells were unsafe for consumption based on the trans fat content and thus amounted to a breach of an implied warranty of merchantability and a violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law. Citing primary jurisdiction, the court declined to rule on the claims and paused the lawsuit until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration determines its position on trans fats as a food additive.