Cruz-Alvarez and Rameshwar Detail Dismissal of Challenge to Abbott Labs' Organic Infant Formula

Shook Partner Frank Cruz-Alvarez and Associate Ravika Rameshwar have authored an article for the Washington Legal Foundation's Legal Pulse discussing a New York federal court's dismissal of a class action centered on infant formula marketed as organic. The complaint alleged that Abbott Laboratories, Inc. represented its Similac® Advance® as organic despite containing ingredients prohibited in organic products by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Cruz-Alvarez and Rameshwar provide an overview of the case and detail the relevant provisions of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, which establishes that a product can be labeled "organic" if a USDA-accredited agency certifies it as such. The court compared the infant formula allegations to a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit case challenging the organic label of milk and reached an analogous conclusion: the state laws supporting the complaint challenged the federal law's certification determination and were thus preempted. Accordingly, the court dismissed the plaintiff's complaint but granted leave to amend.