In a decision that may impact future e-commerce, the California Court of Appeal held in Bolger v. Amazon.com, LLC that under California law, Amazon could be strictly liable for an allegedly defective battery manufactured by a third-party and sold on its website. The Court further found Amazon was not immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act. The Court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Amazon.
Seen frequently on grocery items, and especially on dietary supplements, structure/function claims describe the role of a nutrient or ingredient in the structure or function of the human body. Examples include “Calcium builds strong bones,” “St. John’s Wort supports mood,” and “Vitamin E supports the immune system.”
The FDA defines and regulates structure/function claims, and FDA requirements generally preempt state-law requirements that are “not identical.” 21 U.S.C. § 343-1(a)(5). So, does compliance with FDA regulations for structure/function claims shield food and supplement manufacturers from lawsuits claiming their structure/function claims are false and misleading?
The California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, recently affirmed judgment in favor of a fruit snack manufacturer who claimed “fruit” was stated to be the first ingredient on a front label but listed “fruit puree” first in the product’s ingredient list.
Plaintiff’s Fruit Snack–Based Claims
Defendants in Iglesias v. Welch Foods, Inc., et al., No. A159565, manufactured fruit snacks with a label that stated, “Fruit is our 1st Ingredient!” at the top of the front label. The snacks’ “Nutrition Fact Panel” then listed “FRUIT PUREE” as the first ingredient, followed by corn syrup.