Court denies summary judgement in class action against Ocean Spray

By Takesha Thomas | Nov 8, 2018

Nizzan Zvi Cohen/Creative Commons

SAN DIEGO — A class-action lawsuit against Ocean Spray will now move forward in a case over the alleged use of synthetic acids in drinks labeled as "100%" with no artificial flavorings.

On Oct. 30, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel denied Ocean Spray Cranberries and Arnold Worldwide their motion for summary judgement in the case. Arnold Worldwide provides labeling and advertising for Ocean Spray.

The case involves a consumer class action filed by Crystal Hilsey in November 2017, alleging that even though the labels on “Cran-Apple” and “Cran-Grape” products claim they contain no artificial flavors, they contain fumaric acid and malic acid as ingredients.

Hilsey, relying on an expert witness, claims the acids are added to foods, beverages and candies to give tart and fruity flavors.

Ocean Spray contends, however, that the acids are used to control pH in their juice products, and are not used as flavors.

Ocean Spray had filed the motion for summary judgement in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, arguing that Hilsey's complaint was irrelevant since it confused single-serve bottles with 64-ounce apple juice products.

However, the court disagreed with Ocean Spray's argument and denied the motion for summary judgement.

Hilsey's class action alleged "violations of California consumer protection laws based on misrepresentation of labels on certain Ocean Spray products."

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