March 31, 2014
Authored by: James Smith
On March 7, 2014, we reported that the FDA reopened the comment period as to whether Evaporated Cane Juice (“ECJ”) is an appropriate description to include on a food label. At that time, at least one court had asked parties in a punitive class action to provide supplemental briefs regarding the effect of the FDA’s reopening of the comment period. Reese v. Odwalla, Inc., No. 13-CV-947-YGR (N.D. Cal. 3/6/14) (directing parties to submit supplemental briefs). A number of plaintiffs contend that ECJ is an improper term to include on a food label because it is nothing more than sugar. Because federal regulations generally require labeling ingredients by their common or usual name, these plaintiffs argue that labels with “ECJ” violate federal requirements and California consumer protection laws. See 21 U.S.C. § 341(i); 21 C.F.R. § 101.4(a)(1).
Following that supplemental briefing, the Reese court recently stayed the