On March 13, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) announced that a federal judge has signed a consent decree of permanent injunction, enjoining a New Jersey-based food company’s operations. In particular, Butterfly Bakery Inc. (“the Company”) is prohibited from processing and distributing food until it brings its operations into compliance with the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FFDCA”). According to the consent decree, the Company’s products were deemed misbranded due to various labeling deficiencies, whereby the Company allegedly failed to comply with federal law and accompanying FDA food labeling rules.
As noted by the FDA, the present action demonstrates the agency’s willingness to take enforcement action against companies that “. . . mislead consumers on the products they purchase.” Interestingly, the alleged misleading conduct was in no way related to efficacy or therapeutic claims, frequently seen as prompting enforcement actions. Rather, the deficiencies cited in the present case were limited to allegations of improper nutrient content claims. For example, and among other allegations, the FDA alleged the Company’s products bore “sugar free” claims when in fact these products contained sugar.
Under the FFDCA and accompanying FDA food labeling rules, foods must be labeled accurately or they run the risk of being deemed misbranded by the FDA. As demonstrated in the present case, failure to label food in accordance with federal law and regulations may lead to enforcement action, including costly and time-consuming halts to manufacturing and distribution processes. Accordingly, it is important to ensure that the labels of all food products that are marketed and sold in the United States are in compliance with FDA regulations.
For more information about FDA food labeling rules or how you can ensure compliance with the laws and regulations enforced by the FDA contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.