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OVERVIEW

The food and beverage industry has become a top target for class actions and individual lawsuits following increased attention to product labeling, advertising, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and consumer fraud. Perkins Coie attorneys have had considerable success in countering this rising trend.

We protect food and beverage clients, including General Mills and Costco, by deploying decisive measures that reduce their liability and, when feasible, shut down litigation early and cost-effectively. 

Additionally, we have advised clients on product recalls and product liability exposure and served as national coordinating defense counsel in complex nationwide class actions. Perkins Coie attorneys often lead the industry conversation in this evolving area of law. For example, our winning defense in a class action, Turek v. General Mills, which involved nutrient content claims, led to the first published federal appellate decision on the scope of Nutrition Labeling and Education Act (NLEA) preemption.

"All Natural" and Bioengineered Food Claims

As litigation against companies that label their products "all natural" increases, Perkins Coie is executing a highly effective approach for global food companies to manage class actions in jurisdictions across the United States, involving some of the world's most popular and innovative products. We have achieved early dismissals in high-stakes class and mass actions. 

We are well schooled in addressing arguments challenging the use of GMOs and food bioengineering claims. These include preemption, failure to allege or establish damages, lack of specificity under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b), and federal First Amendment and Commerce Clause defenses.

While the regulatory climate tilts toward increased scrutiny, including an increase in activity from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Perkins Coie attorneys are active consultants on GMO labeling initiatives at the state level. We maintain productive relationships with prevailing regulatory agencies and authorities overseeing a range of food and beverage areas.

Decisive Leadership on Food Litigation Defense

Our ability to call the plaintiffs' bar to task creates significant value and savings for clients. Among the most powerful resources that the Perkins Coie litigation team draws on is a cadre of trial-tested experts, such as food science specialists, medical researchers, marketing experts, economists and investigators. 

Our resident knowledge base includes attorneys from our nationally recognized Retail & Consumer Products industry group, and within that group, attorneys focused on the Food & Beverage sector. Many of our attorneys appear as seminar speakers, provide commentary to the media and publish articles on topics that our clients need to know before litigation arises. Our biweekly Food Litigation Newsletter provides real-time information on significant arguments and emerging trends in food and beverage litigation.

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