Marketing nutrition & health-related benefits of food & beverage products: enforcement, litigation & liability issues.Food Drug Law J. 2010; 65(3):447-69, i.FD
Over the past decade, the liability risks associated with food and beverage product marketing have increased significantly, particularly with respect to nutrition and health-related product benefit claims. FDA and FTC enforcement priorities appear to have contributed to the increasing liability trends that are associated with these nutrition and health-related claims. This article examines key enforcement and litigation developments involving conventional food and beverage product marketing claims during the first 18 months of President Obama's administration: Part I considers FDA enforcement priorities and recent warning letters; Part II considers FTC enforcement priorities, warning letters, and consent orders; and Part III considers the relationship between FDA and FTC enforcement priorities and recent false advertising cases brought by private parties challenging nutrition and health-related marketing claims for food and beverage products. The article makes recommendations concerning ways in which food and beverage companies can help minimize liability risks associated with health-related marketing claims. In addition, the article suggests that federal policy reforms may be required to counter the perverse chilling effects current food liability trends appear to be having on health-related marketing claims for food and beverage products, and proposes a number of specific reforms that would help encourage the responsible use of well-substantiated marketing claims that can help foster healthy dietary practices. In view of the obesity prevention and other diet-related public health priorities of the Obama administration, the article suggests that this is an opportune time to address the apparent chilling effects increasing food liability risks are having on nutrition and health-related marketing claims for healthy food and beverage products, and potential adverse consequences for public health.