Organic products manufacturers are facing a class action lawsuit from consumers who say the organic food products industry has been plagued by misleading labels and deceptive marketing practices.
A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a temporary injunction on a lawsuit filed by the Organic Trade Association and four organic product manufacturers against four food retailers and distributors in California and Arizona, as well as four states that have implemented similar laws.
The complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, alleges that a number of organic products are being labeled as containing genetically modified ingredients and not organic at all.
The lawsuit also alleges that consumers who purchase these products are unwittingly purchasing GMO products that were not produced using a sustainable agricultural method.
“The industry has systematically deceived consumers by falsely labeling organic products as organic, or by misrepresenting the safety and efficacy of organic food,” said attorney Brian Wiesner, an attorney for the Organic Food Trade Association.
“These false claims are harmful to consumers and their ability to understand what they are buying.
It’s a slap in the face to the farmers, the farmers and the farmers’ families that make this country what it is.”
The suit, which is being filed in federal court in Los Feliz, alleges several organic product companies, including Organic Brands Inc., the company that makes and markets The Honest Company’s popular organic juice brand, and the organic cosmetics company Organic Cosmetics, are guilty of misleading consumers about the safety of organic ingredients and failing to disclose that some of the ingredients are genetically modified.
The plaintiffs allege that the organic products companies have violated California’s Proposition 65, which prohibits deceptive labeling and deceptive advertising, and Arizona’s Proposition 200, which requires retailers to disclose the ingredients that go into their products.
Wiesner said in a statement to MTV News that the Organic Association is “pleased” that the case is being heard by a federal judge and that it looks forward to working with the plaintiffs in the coming months.
“We look forward to defending the rights of consumers to know exactly what is in their organic products and to protect their right to know whether or not their product contains GMOs,” Wiesninger said.