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Misleading Food Labeling and Advertising Under the Lanham Act and the FDCA

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 92 minutes
Recorded Date: April 17, 2018
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  • FDA Labeling Violations and Misleading Claims Challenges
  • Clear Labels on Plant-Based Foods
  • Lanham Act Liability and Preemption
  • Private Causes of Consumer Actions
Runtime: 1 hour and 32 minutes
Recorded: April 17, 2018


Nutritional labels on food products should contain all the necessary disclosures required by federal guidelines, such as the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). But what if they are misleading?

As consumers, we rely on federal agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to set standards for and police the contents, accuracy, and adequacy of food and drink labels on products offered for purchase to the general public. We expect that nutritional labels on the food products we find at grocery stores, gas stations, and chain retailers contain all the necessary disclosures required by federal guidelines, such as the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). If we are misled, we may have a private cause of action against the manufacturer under state consumer protection laws.

This program was recorded on April 17th, 2018.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Michael R. Reese

Reese, LLP

Mr. Reese litigates consumer and antitrust cases as class actions and on behalf of individual clients.

Prior to entering private practice in 2000, Mr. Reese served as an assistant district attorney at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office where he served as a trial attorney prosecuting both violent and white-collar crime.

Mr. Reese and his firm frequently work with non-profit groups to address deceptive marketing and advertising. For example, Mr. Reese and his firm are currently co-lead counsel with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (“CSPI”) in several matters, including In re Glaceau Vitaminwater Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation. Mr. Reese and his firm also frequently work with Public Justice, among other non-profit consumer advocacy groups.

Achievements by Mr. Reese on behalf of consumers span a wide array of actions. For example, in Yoo v. Wendy’s International Inc., Mr. Reese was appointed class counsel by the court and commended on achieving a settlement that eliminated trans fat from a popular food source. See Yoo v. Wendy’s Int’l Inc., No. 07-CV-04515-FMC (JCx) (C.D. Cal. 2007) (stating that counsel “has conducted the litigation and achieved the Settlement with skill, perseverance and diligent advocacy”). In Chin v. RCN Corporation, Mr. Reese was appointed class counsel and commended by the court for stopping RCN’s practice of throttling its Internet customers through adverse network management practices. See Chin v. RCN Corp., No. 08-CV-7349(RJS)(KNF), 2010 WL 3958794, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96302 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 8, 2010).

Other recent victories by Mr. Reese and his firm in which they served as court appointed lead counsel include a $6.4 million settlement in Wong v. Alacer Corp., case no. CGC-12-519221 (San Francisco Superior Court) for consumers who bought the Emergen-C dietary supplement and a $6.1 million settlement in Howerton v. Cargill, Inc. case no. 13-CV-00336 (D. Hawaii) for consumers who bought Truvia branded sweetener.

Mr. Reese is a frequent lecturer on issues of food litigation and class actions. Recently, Mr. Reese has been a guest speaker on a panel with a member from Federal Trade Commission at the Food and Drug Law Institute in Washington, D.C.; a guest speaker at the Perrin Conference Annual Food Litigation in Chicago; and, a guest speaker at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Resnick Food Litigation Conference.

Mr. Reese is also an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School where he most recently taught a course entitled "The Law of Class Actions and Other Aggregate Litigation".

Mr. Reese is a member of the state bars of New York and California as well as numerous federal courts. Mr. Reese received his juris doctorate from the University of Virginia in 1996 and his bachelor’s degree from New College in 1993

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Katherine L. Giannamore

Partner and FDA Consultant Attorney
Mejia Shehadeh Giannamore, PLLC

Ms. Giannamore has been practicing Food & Drug Law for the past several years, since her initial employment in the field as a law student. During Katherine’s time in law school she clerked and went on to work for a mid-sized law firm in downtown Miami, where she learned the intricacies of food and drug law, being one of a select few working in the firm’s FDA practice group. It was this experience that led Katherine to start her own firm focusing on helping clients achieve regulatory compliance, while providing cost-effective legal assistance to a wide range of clients. After five years of practice, Katherine went on to become a founding partner of Mejia Shehadeh Giannamore, PLLC, where she heads the Firm’s Food and Drug practice, in addition to overseeing other areas within the Firm.

In addition to being licensed to practice law in the State of Florida, Ms. Giannamore is admitted to practice before the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the Eleventh Circuit.

While Katherine’s primary focus is providing FDA regulatory consulting services and related regulatory guidance directly to clients, Ms. Giannamore has also completed several speaking engagements, where she works to help those in the industry understand the legal background of various FDA-regulated areas. These speaking engagements have been on the topics of gluten-free labeling of foods and major allergen labeling under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, among other related regulatory topics.

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Jessica Almy

Director of Policy
The Good Food Institute

Jessica oversees GFI’s work to create a better future of food through regulatory and statutory reform in Washington.

She came to The Good Food Institute from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, where she served as Deputy Director of Nutrition Policy. Before working for CSPI, she worked for the D.C.-based law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal.

She holds a J.D. from New York University School of Law and an M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University. She is a member of the bar in New York and Washington, D.C.

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