Two New False Advertising Claims – An Unhappy Cow and a Super Starch
The Cows Did Not Jump Over the Moon in This Claim:
Plaintiff Organic Consumers’ Association alleged in its Washington D. C. state court claim, that Ben and Jerry’s (and its parent company Unilever) falsely advertised that the milk used in their ice cream came from happy cows raised in caring dairies. Unfortunately, all was not happy with the actual facts – some of the milk products did in fact come from mass – production, commercial farming operations that employ cow confinement and antibiotics in their processing. Such operations made up a minority of the members in a farm coop known for its environmentally safe and friendly practices but nonetheless, alleged the Plaintiff, made the advertising of “green fields and grazing of ‘happy’ cows” false and misleading.
According to the Plaintiff, no reasonable consumer would think these farming practices lead to happy cows or would be found in a Caring Dairy. Plaintiff requested injunctive relief and corrective advertising, along with costs and attorneys’ fees.
High Performance or Just High Expectations?
The UCAN Company was sued in Illinois for claiming that its sports performance products, made with “SuperStarch” would produce such lofty results as sustained energy, optimized performance, and enhanced fat burn (among other claims) without the usual gastrointestinal issues that so many high performance sports products cause.
SuperStarch turned out to be just corn. Further, UCAN relied on “internal” experiments to make their claims, which it turned out was conducted by a member of UCAN’s own Advisory Board. UCAN also also failed to disclose whether the research was conducted properly. In fact, most of the claims made by UCAN as to enhanced performance weren’t accurate and the one link to reliable scientific evidence found on their website failed to support the claims. The Plaintiff in this instance is seeking to certify a national class and a multi-state consumer fraud class for compensatory, punitive and other damages.
Why is this important: Whether it’s an ice cream claiming to only use milk from the most well-adjusted bovine, or a super ingredient claiming to give all of us weekend warriors super powers, brands should steer clear from making any false, deceptive, misleading or unsubstantiated claim.