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7-Eleven May Be Liable for Mislabeling Food Packages

Response Magazine

Scott Bishop (plaintiff), a consumer of 7-Eleven brand potato chips, initiated a class action lawsuit against 7-Eleven Inc. alleging that 7-Eleven mislabeled its “7-Select” potato chips and other 7-Eleven branded food products in violation of California’s false advertising law. California regulates advertising through a false advertising statute. Through its false advertising statute, California generally prohibits any statement that is untrue or misleading made in connection with the disposition of property or services. Any violation of that prohibition is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for up to six months, by a fine of up to $2,500, or by both. Injured consumers or competitors may also bring a civil action to enforce certain sections of the false advertising statute.

The plaintiff alleged that 7-Eleven failed to comply with state and federal regulations by misstating the nutrient contents and nutritional values, using “all natural,” and “fresh” claims, and failing to disclose the presence of artificial colors and flavors. A federal district court dismissed the false advertising claims, concluding that the plaintiff failed to specify the particular products that violated particular labeling requirements, the allegedly unlawful representations that were on the products, and the particular statements the plaintiff allegedly relied on when making his purchases. Bishop appealed the dismissal of his claims to the U.S. Court of Appeals, which reversed the lower court’s decision.

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“7-Eleven May Be Liable for Mislabeling Food Packages,” by Jeffrey R. Richter and Arthur P. Yoon was published in the DRMA Voice, a property of Response Magazine, on August 9, 2016. Reprinted in part with permission.