Plainitiff Hulse, a Florida resident, alleges Walmart violated the food safety, consumer protection and false advertising laws when it knowingly and unlawfully misbranded its Cranberry Pomegranate Juice to induce the consuming public into purchasing Walmart’s product under the false impressions that the juice contained the health and nutritional benefits commonly associated with pomegranate and cranberry juices.
The complaint alleges that Walmart took advantage of consumers when it represented that the primary ingredients in the Great Value juice were cranberry and pomegranate. It is well known that both cranberry and pomegranate juices have high levels of powerful antioxidants, which have been shown to effectively prevent heart disease, have antibacterial effects against dental plaque, and protect the nervous system. Because the ever-increasing demand for both cranberry and pomegranate juices created an enormous market of consumers, Walmart readily sought to use and abuse the public by selling, at a substantial price premium, its Great Value juice.
A typical bottle of Walmart’s Great Value 100% Cranberry Pomegranate Juice prominently displays the picture of fresh cranberries and pomegranates on the front label along with the words “100% cranberry and pomegranate,” a marketing tactic by the Defendant which misleads the average consumer to believe they are purchasing a blend of the two most powerful antioxidants available on the market. In reality, the back label ingredients list reveals that water and cheap white grape and apple and plum juice concentrate are the primary ingredients.
The decision in Williams v Gerber Products has indicated that manufacturers cannot use the ingredients list on the back label as a shield against the deceptive advertising on the front label. Reasonable consumers expect the ingredient list to contain a more detailed information about the product that confirms other representations on the packaging.
Under the Florida Food Safety Act, the sale of any food item that is misbranded is prohibited. A food is deemed misbranded if its label is false or misleading in any particular. Plaintiff alleges that although Walmart’s labeling of its Great Value juice complied with the Food and Drug Administration’s minimum requirements about disclosure, such compliance is insufficient to determine whether the juice’s label is false and misleading and does not provide a shield from liability.Article Type: Lawsuit