D.C. Superior Court Holds That Challenge to Advertising Claim for Meat Product is Preempted Because USDA Approved Same Claim on Label

By Riëtte van Laack — In 2016, the Animal League Defense Fund (ALDF) sued Hormel Foods Corporation, alleging that the company’s use of the terms “natural” and “no preservatives added” in advertising for its Natural Choice products violated the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act.  Plaintiff alleged that the these claims materially misled consumers into believing that Hormel’s products are made from animals that are humanely raised and not “factory farmed” and that they do not contain preservatives or nitrates or nitrites that are not from natural sources.  The advertising claims were identical to the claims on the product labels. Hormel moved for summary judgment claiming that the ALDF did not have standing to bring the case and that, in any event, the claim was preempted by federal law. Like the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDC Act), the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products…

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