Friday, March 23, 2018

Preempted by the Organic Foods Production Act

Three parents brought a class action against Abbott Laboratories, Inc., claiming that it had included in its baby formula, which was purported to be "organic," contained ingredients not allowed by the Organic Foods Production Act (the "Act").  Their claims were brought under New York and California statutory and common law.  The trial court dismissed the action, holding that the claims were preempted by federal law.  On appeal, the Second Circuit affirmed.  The Act allows Abbott to label its formula organic pursuant to a certified organic plan.  All Abbott did was state that its product was certified organic, which is was.  The Court held that the parents' claim would require an adjudication of the product's organic status, something not envisioned by the Act.  Accordingly, the state law claims were preempted and the case dismissed.  The Second Circuit's decision is in accord with a decision of the Eighth Circuit.

The decision in Marentette v. Abbott Laboratories, Inc. can be found here.

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