Dole ‘All Natural’ Fruit Case Revived

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By Martina Barash

Sept. 30 — A class action over Dole Packaged Foods LLC’s “All Natural” packaged fruit should go to a jury, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said in an unpublished memorandum opinion ( Brazil v. Dole Packaged Foods, LLC , 2016 BL 325189, 9th Cir., No. 14-17480, unpublished 9/30/16 ).

But the plaintiff may only pursue an order that Dole stop using the phrase, not monetary relief, on behalf of the class, the appeals court said.

The trial court shouldn’t have granted summary judgment to Dole on plaintiff Chad Brazil’s consumer-protection claims, the appeals court said. Dole’s “All Natural” description on fruit that contained synthetic citric and ascorbic acid could be found misleading to a reasonable consumer, the court said.

The case may proceed while the Food and Drug Administration considers the term “natural,” the Ninth Circuit said. It agreed with the district court, which declined to toss the case on “primary jurisdiction” grounds, a prominent issue at oral argument ( 17 CLASS 969, 9/23/16 ).

Neal & Harwell, and others, represented the plaintiff.

Morrison & Foerster LLP represented Dole.

To contact the reporter on this story: Martina Barash at MBarash@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com

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