103 Iowa L. Rev. 785 (2018)
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Unknown to most consumers, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration does not regulate “all natural” food labels. Manufacturers commonly abuse this loophole by placing the “all natural” label on products that are clearly not “all natural.” In doing so, some manufacturers intentionally deprive consumers of a free choice regarding what they put into their bodies. This deception leads consumers to ingest artificial chemicals under the guise of “all natural.” In one particular case, consumers allegedly ate a substance derived from woodchips when the manufacturer had labeled the product as “100%” Parmesan cheese. To the benefit of manufacturers, plaintiffs’ available legal remedies have proved to be insufficient and have failed to significantly deter manufacturers from continuing the mislabeling practices. Plaintiffs have tried to bring breach of contract claims against the manufacturers, but courts across the nation have consistently found the claims fail for lack of privity. Privity is an outdated requirement that has been relaxed in other areas of the law. Since privity fails to achieve a fair result, the privity requirement should be relaxed in the food-label litigation context. The privity requirement should either be extended between the consumer and manufacturer or abandoned entirely. Modernizing the privity requirement to fit the realities of modern society will produce the fairest result by providing an adequate remedy for consumers and preventing future mislabeling practices.

Monday, January 15, 2018