California consumers rely on product labels to provide accurate information about the foods or goods they buy. When product labels are false or misleading, consumers may be fooled into buying a product they do not want. In some cases, false labeling may expose consumers to unexpected dangers.
Consumers who are deceived by product labels can seek justice by filing a class action lawsuit. The lawsuits are typically filed under California laws that prohibit false advertising and consumer fraud, including laws that protect consumers from unfair trade practices that involve deceptive or misleading statements in the sale or marketing of consumer goods.
The Haeggquist and Eck Firm represents consumers who purchased falsely labeled products. By speaking with an attorney for false labeling on products, consumers can get the info needed to help assure that deceptive claims are removed from product labels.
Food or Beverage Labeling
Several federal agencies regulate the labeling of food products. The Food and Drug Administration regulates labels attached to most foods and nonalcoholic beverages. The U.S. Department of Agriculture regulates the labeling of meat, poultry, and liquid egg products. The labeling of alcoholic beverages falls under the jurisdiction of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau.
Notwithstanding federal regulations, the labels on many food and beverage products are false or misleading. Food labeling violations may involve false statements about the ingredients contained in a food product or beverage. It is critical for consumers that goods are free of product defects and correctly labeled. Food labeling class action lawsuits may also be based on misleading claims about the nature or benefits of the food or beverage.
Examples of false food or beverage labeling include:
- Stating that a food is “nutritious” when it has little nutritional value.
- Stating that a food is “healthy” when it contains unhealthy ingredients, such as artificial trans-fat.
- Using “all natural” or similar phrases to describe highly processed food or beverages, as well as foods and beverages that contain synthetic ingredients.
- Labeling genetically engineered foods as “natural,” “naturally made,” or “naturally grown.”
- Claiming that a food product is “clinically proven” to prevent disease or provide a health benefit when the “proof” is nonexistent or doubtful.
- Marketing foods or beverages as “preservative free” even though citric acid has been added as a preservative.
- Claiming that chickens or other animal products were “Raised Without Antibiotics” when, in fact, the animals were given antibiotics.
- Stating that a product is “100% pure” when it includes additional ingredients.
- Claiming that a food product has antioxidant or immunity-boosting properties in the absence of evidence that consuming the food provides those benefits.
- Making claims about the health benefits of probiotics in yogurt and other foods that have not found support in peer-reviewed published research.
- Stating that foods containing certain nutrients will reduce cholesterol or prevent cancer, heart attacks, or strokes when those claims are not supported by scientific studies.
- Designing a food or beverage label to suggest that the product comes from a certain place (such as water from Arctic icebergs or beer brewed in Japan) when in fact the product is not derived from that location.
- Claiming that “gluten-free” foods have health benefits when those benefits do not apply to the vast majority of consumers.
- Claiming the product contains a specified number of “essential vitamins and minerals” when the amounts of those ingredients are too small to provide any nutritional or health benefit.
- Stating a weight or size on an under-filled product package that has less content by weight or volume than the package claims.
Other Product Labeling
California law requires all product labels to be truthful. Deceptive labeling violates laws that protect consumers from being defrauded.
Examples of misleading or deceptive product labels include:
- Labeling a product as “Made in the USA” when a significant percentage of components are made in another country.
- Placing an “Energy Guide” label on a refrigerator or other electronic product that understates the amount of energy the product consumes.
- Labeling a product as “Custom Made” when it is identical to other products that the manufacturer sells.
- Labeling a mass-produced product as “Handmade.”
- Misstating the amount of cotton, wool, or other fibers in clothing and other textile products.
- Misstating the thread count in sheets.
- Overstating the storage capacity of a hard drive or flash drive.
- Making claims of certification or testing (such as “UL certified”) when the product has not been certified or tested.
- Using pictures or illustrations on the outside of a box that do not match the product inside the box. Pictures showing parts or pieces that are not included are a common example.
- Labeling exercise equipment as “scientifically proven to reduce fat” when no such scientific evidence exists.
- Claiming that cleaning products are “chemical free” when, in fact, all cleaning products contain chemicals.
- Labeling a cosmetic or personal hair care product as “organic” when it does not contain at least 70% organic ingredients.
- Using the word “Guaranteed” without specifying the terms of any guarantee.
- Using the phrase “Top Quality” when competing products are of a higher quality.
- Using the word “Safe” when the product poses a health or safety risk to the consumer. For example, the word “Safe” on the label of a hair straightener would be misleading if the product contained formaldehyde.
- Using a misleading product name. For example, manufacturers of the “Organix” line of personal care products agreed to change the name after a class action lawsuit was filed by consumers who were deceived into thinking that the products primarily consisted of organic ingredients.
- Claiming that a product is “biodegradable” or “recyclable” when the claim is untrue.
- Including false product performance claims (such as print speed of an inkjet printer) on product labels.
- Drug labeling that suggests pain relief medications target a particular kind of pain (such as back pain, migraine pain, or menstrual pain) when the drug merely provides general pain relief.
- Labels on herbal remedies claiming health benefits that are unsupported by scientific studies.
False Labeling Class Actions
Class action lawsuits involving false product labels serve two purposes. First, they provide compensation to consumers who were deceived by the labels. While any one individual might not find it worthwhile to bring a false labeling lawsuit against a large corporation, consumers gain power by pursuing collective claims in a class action lawsuit.
Second, class action product labeling lawsuits force corporations to change their labels. By bringing a class action lawsuit, you not only vindicate your own rights, you help protect other consumers from deceptive or misleading product labels.
What Victims Can Do
If you purchased a product and you suspect that the product label makes claims or states information that is false or misleading, contact the false labeling lawyers in California at The Haeggquist and Eck Firm. We bring class action lawsuits to protect the rights of California consumers. Call (949) 724-9200 now to obtain a free consultation and get help today.