Category Archives: Food and Nutrition

NYC Council passes bill to curb plastic waste from takeout food

Gothamist reports: Restaurants and food delivery services will be barred from providing plastic knives, forks and condiment packets unless customers specifically request them, if a bill passed by the New York City Council Thursday goes into effect. The bill aims to curb single-use plastic waste that can’t be recycled. Approximately 1.1 million pounds of single-use […]

A Valediction: Long-time Consumer Advocate Richard Cleland Hangs Up His Spurs

After taking his sweet time to do so, my old and good friend Rich Cleland retired from the FTC at the end of 2022. I first met Rich about 40 years ago, when he ran the great Iowa AG Tom Miller’s Consumer Protection Division and I was working for the late great Texas AG Jim […]

Are there dangerous levels of heavy metals in your favorite chocolate bar?

Read this December 15, 2022 article in Consumer Reports, titled “Lead and Cadmium Could Be in Your Dark Chocolate,” which found, based on product testing, “dangerous heavy metals in chocolate from Hershey’s, Theo, Trader Joe’s and other popular brands.” (The article also found that other products are safer.) Two class actions have been filed against Trader Joe’s […]

Beyranevand Article: Regulating Inherently Subjective Food Labeling Claims

Laurie J. Beyranevand of Vermont has written Regulating Inherently Subjective Food Labeling Claims, 37 Environmental Law 543 (2017).  Here is the abstract: For many consumers, the modern food label serves as the sole source of information regarding any individual food product. While it may be considered informative in some respects, it is often enigmatic in others. The present […]

Study Finds Consumers Think Fast Foods Have More Calories Than They Do; Calorie Disclosures May Make Such Foods Appear Healthier

Simon Hedlin has written Calorie Overestimation Bias and Fast Food Products: The Effects of Calorie Labels on Perceived Healthiness and Intent to Purchase.  Here's the abstract: In 2014, the United States Food and Drug Administration announced that chain restaurants with 20 or more locations would be required to put calorie labels on the menu. The […]

Times: How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat

by Jeff Sovern Here (behind paywall). Excerpt: The sugar industry paid scientists in the 1960s to downplay the link between sugar and heart disease and promote saturated fat as the culprit instead, newly released historical documents show. The internal sugar industry documents, recently discovered by a researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, and […]

Paper on Food and Beverage Marketing to Youth

Andrew Cheyne, Pamela Mejia, Laura Nixon, and Lori Dorfman, all of the Berkeley Media Studies Group, have written Food and Beverage Marketing to Youth, Current Obesity Reports, September 2014. Here's the abstract: After nearly a decade of concern over the role of food and beverage marketing to youth in the childhood obesity epidemic, American children […]

Snake oil, the placebo effect, and status quo bias: Should evidence of “satisfied customers” defeat a consumer fraud class action?

by Deepak Gupta Should a defendant in a consumer fraud class action be able to defeat certification through evidence that its customers say they are "satisfied," even when the the allegation is that the product is snake oil?  Or would that transform the placebo effect into a defense to fraud? That's the question the Ninth […]