Judge Dismisses Claims against Wegmans Regarding Vanilla Ice Cream Labeling
On July 14, 2020, a New York federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Wegmans Food Market (“Wegmans”) concerning allegedly deceptive labeling of its vanilla ice cream. The plaintiffs had alleged that the ice cream was deceptively labeled because it is flavored using flavors from sources other than vanilla bean or vanilla extract but was not described on the principal display panel as being “flavored” vanilla ice cream.
U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton dismissed the claims after determining that the analysis provided by the plaintiffs may not have been sensitive enough to detect all markers of vanilla and, therefore, could not prove that vanilla was not in the product.
In his opinion Judge Stanton also questioned whether the labels for the ice cream were deceptive, as neither the label nor ingredients state that the ice cream uses vanilla bean or extract. We note that, if asked, FDA may not have agreed that the labeling of this product was in compliance with flavor labeling and ice cream labeling regulations.
As we have previously reported, there have been many similar lawsuits alleging deceptive and misleading labels regarding vanilla products.