Greenberg Traurig Shareholder Ed Chansky highlights a recent decision dismissing consumer fraud claims alleging a personal care product was mislabeled as “all natural.” The key aspects of the decision were:
- “Natural” is a vague and ambiguous term without a single or universal definition.
- The plaintiffs’ proposed definition of “natural” as “existing in or produced by nature” had no application to manufactured products like shampoos and lotions, which consumers don’t expect to occur in nature. (The court added, “there are no shampoo trees.”)
- The plaintiffs’ proposed definition of vegetarian as “only from vegetable matter,” is at odds with a common understanding of “without animal products.”
- The sense in which the manufacturer was using the contested terms was carefully explained on the labels and the web pages.
- The products at issue were not food products, but rather packaged cosmetic and toiletry products, which are typically understood to be manufactured.
- The plaintiffs did not explain how they relied upon or allegedly were harmed by terms used on the labels or the web pages
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