Orgain “Vanilla” Almondmilk Improper Labeling Class Action

Vanilla is the only flavor with its own standard of identity in federal law. The complaint for this class action alleges that Orgain, Inc. does not properly label its Orgain Vanilla Almondmilk, because the use of the word “Vanilla” without qualification leads consumers to expect that the almondmilk is flavored only with vanilla from vanilla beans—something that the complaint alleges is not so.

The class for this action is all those who bought the product in New York and the other forty-nine states during the statutes of limitations.

The complaint reproduces the front of the Orgain carton, which displays the word “Vanilla” prominently. The use of the simple word “Vanilla,” the complaint says, implies that the flavoring is exclusively from vanilla beans, but that this is not the case.

Vanilla is a popular flavor, but real vanilla beans are both expensive and in short supply in the world. Food makers have therefore tried to find ways to reproduce the flavor of vanilla with other substances.

One substance that can do this is vanillin. However, the complaint claims, “Only 1-2% of vanillin in commercial use is obtained from the vanilla plant, which means almost all vanillin has no connection to the vanilla bean.” Even where vanillin is made from natural sources, the complaint says, the processing may render it synthetic by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards.

If a food is characterized as vanilla but contains non-vanilla vanillin, the complaint says, “the label and packaging must declare the presence of vanillin and identify it as an artificial flavor.”

There are other ways of attaining a vanilla or vanilla-like flavoring, but the labeling of vanilla is more strictly regulated than that of other flavors.

What does the almondmilk actually contain? The ingredient panels lists both “Organic Natural Flavors” and “Natural Flavor.” According to the complaint, these flavors are not exclusively vanilla or they would be listed as vanilla. The complaint alleges, “One of the flavor ingredients is a masking flavor and the other is used to provide a vanilla taste and flavor.”

If this is the case, the complaint says, the front of the carton should not say simply “Vanilla” but something that discloses the presence of non-vanilla flavorings. Depending on whether there’s enough vanilla to characterize the almondmilk, or the proportion of vanilla to non-vanilla flavorings, the proper designation might be “Vanilla Flavored Almondmilk,” “Vanilla Almondmilk with Other Natural Flavors,” or something else.

The complaint alleges violations of state consumer protection laws, negligent misrepresentation, breaches of warranty, and fraud, among other things.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Orgain “Vanilla” Almondmilk Improper Labeling Complaint

February 7, 2020

Vanilla is the only flavor with its own standard of identity in federal law. The complaint for this class action alleges that Orgain, Inc. does not properly label its Orgain Vanilla Almondmilk, because the use of the word “Vanilla” without qualification leads consumers to expect that the almondmilk is flavored only with vanilla from vanilla beans—something that the complaint alleges is not so.

Orgain “Vanilla” Almondmilk Improper Labeling Complaint

Case Event History

Orgain “Vanilla” Almondmilk Improper Labeling Complaint

February 7, 2020

Vanilla is the only flavor with its own standard of identity in federal law. The complaint for this class action alleges that Orgain, Inc. does not properly label its Orgain Vanilla Almondmilk, because the use of the word “Vanilla” without qualification leads consumers to expect that the almondmilk is flavored only with vanilla from vanilla beans—something that the complaint alleges is not so.

Orgain “Vanilla” Almondmilk Improper Labeling Complaint
Tags: Contains Too Little of Featured Ingredients, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels, Negligent Misrepresentation