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Flavor Litigation Update: Smoked Cheese

A proposed class of consumers filed a complaint  against the grocery chain Aldi Inc. on January 26, 2021 in the Eastern District of New York alleging that Aldi’s “Smoked White Cheddar – Deli Sliced Cheese” product is mislabeled because it allegedly achieves its smoked flavor from natural flavorings rather than by smoking the cheese. The complaint asserts that while “natural smoke flavor” is listed as an ingredient, the front panel of the product violates FDA flavor labeling regulations by failing to use a product identity statement that shows the flavor is added and not obtained through smoking.

The Aldi suit closely follows claims in two previous cases filed in 2020 against Dietz & Watson Inc. in New York federal courts regarding smoked provolone and smoked gouda cheese products. Each case relies on the same FDA regulations, outlined in detail in our previous post, and highlights an FDA warning letter sent to Middlefield Original Cheese Co-op in 2017 that alleged that two Middlefield products were improperly labeled as “smoked cheese” when the flavor was obtained with added flavors rather than smoking the cheese.

In the Dietz & Watson smoked provolone case, plaintiffs filed to voluntarily dismiss the suit with prejudice earlier this month; settlement details have not been made public. To date, Dietz & Watson continues to advertise the smoked provolone, gouda, and other smoked cheeses on their website; the package labeling and product identity statement do not appear to have changed from those depicted in the original complaints.

 

© 2022 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 29
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About this Author

Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...

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