Representation of "0 Grams of Trans Fat" Is Not Misleading, Court Finds

U.S. District Court, Central District of California

Shook successfully defended Hostess Brands by obtaining dismissal of a case alleging that label claims made about trans fat were misleading. The plaintiff asserted that Hostess Brands' marketing for six products violated California consumer-protection laws because the product labels displayed the phrase "0 Grams of Trans Fat" while containing artificial trans fat.

Shook attorneys argued that federal food-labeling regulations required Hostess Brands to list the amount of trans fat in the products (less than 0.5 grams) as "0 g" on the Nutrition Facts panel, so the phrase "0 Grams of Trans Fat" elsewhere on the label was not false or misleading. Further, the plaintiff's state claims were preempted by the federal Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, so Shook argued that they should be dismissed. The court agreed on both points.

The plaintiff also brought a Lanham Act claim, but Shook attorneys successfully challenged his standing. The court granted Shook's motion to dismiss without leave to amend. Peviani v. Hostess Brands, Inc., 750 F. Supp. 2d 1111 (C.D. Cal. 2010).