A proposed putative class action lawsuit has been brought against the dietary supplement manufacturer, Nordic Naturals, Inc., and claims that the defendant has made false, misleading, and deceptive representations on product packaging. Specifically, the plaintiff claims declaration of the company name “Nordic Naturals” and its prominent appearance at the top of all packaging constitutes false advertising because the product contains synthetic ingredients, such as gelatin, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine mononitrate, microcrystalline cellulose, citric acid, pectin, sodium citrate, folic acid, silica, potassium, chloride, stearic acid, and silicon dioxide, among others.
In a motion to dismiss, Nordic Naturals argued that it never labeled the products as “all natural” or “100% natural” and therefore no reasonable consumer would be deceived based on the presence of synthetic ingredients. However, on September 28, a New York federal judge denied the motion to dismiss stating that the defendant’s argument relies on too fine a distinction to succeed at this stage of the suit. Judge Nina R. Morrison said “Here, the court agrees with the numerous other courts that have found this distinction unpersuasive at the motion to dismiss stage. Defendants have failed to show, as a matter of law, that while a reasonable consumer would be deceived by an ‘all natural’ or ‘100% natural’ representation, she would not be deceived by a prominent representation of ‘Naturals’ on the label.
Judge Morrison also disagreed with Nordic Naturals that the plaintiff could not have been misled because the back panel declares the full ingredient list. Judge Morrison referenced the Second Circuit’s 2018 ruling in Mantikas v. Kellogg Co., stating that reasonable consumers do not anticipate that the ingredients will contradict representations made on the front panel. Rather, consumers expect the ingredient list to contain more detailed information about the product that confirms other label representations.