(CN) – Pom Wonderful’s false advertising complaint survived Ocean Spray Cranberries’ motion to dismiss because federal law does not pre-empt state fraud laws on food labeling, a federal judge ruled in Los Angeles, in a case involving pomegranate juice.
Pom Wonderful, which popularized pomegranate juice, accused Ocean Spray of falsely claiming its pomegranate and cranberry juice blend contained significant amounts of pomegranate by featuring the fruit prominently on its label. In fact, Pom says, Ocean Spray’s blend is almost entirely apple and grape juice.
Pom Wonderful asserted false advertising claims under California law.
Ocean Spray sought dismissal, saying Pom’s claims were pre-empted by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson ruled that the issues in question are not highly technical and Congress has allowed states the right to retain jurisdiction to protect consumers within their borders.
“Although there are indeed a number of food-labeling requirements promulgated by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], the court … finds that Congress did not intend federal law to exclusively occupy the fields of food labeling and advertising.”