On Wednesday, Dawn Hancock filed a class action complaint in the Southern District of Illinois against Arizona Beverages USA LLC for “misleadingly” labeling their “Mucho Mango Fruit Cocktail” products with the phrase “fortified with vitamin C” despite not adhering to the FDA’s fortification policy.
According to the complaint, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has to manually authorize nutrient content claims on products, otherwise it is prohibited to make such a claim in order to “prevent consumers being deceived by the endless terms that marketers can devise in order to gain advantage in the marketplace.”
The plaintiff claimed that since the labeling says “fortified with vitamin C”, it must mean that there is at least 10% more vitamin C compared to similar products. However, there is no reference food listed so this claim “is not consistent” with the FDA’s policy. Furthermore, “there is no nutritional deficiency in vitamin C recognized by the scientific community” so fortification is not considered appropriate. This drink also contains 44% daily value of sugar and should be “consumed sparingly” according to the FDA.
Thus, the plaintiff alleged that the labeling is misleading and deceptive. She also claimed that the price is higher compared to other Arizona products in part due to the supposed fortification of vitamin C. The plaintiff and proposed class are suing for violations of the consumer protection statute of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and for similar laws in other states, breach of express and implied warranties, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and unjust enrichment.
The plaintiff is seeking class certification; injunctive relief to edit their labels and for restitution and disgorgement; monetary, statutory and punitive damages; attorney’s fees and costs; and other relief.
The plaintiff is represented by Sheehan & Associates, P.C.