A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Mondelez International, Inc. over chocolate labelling. He ruled that a reasonable consumer would not assume that the chocolate contains unprocessed cacao.
The consumer protection lawsuit was filed in February. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff. C.K. Lee had purchased Green & Black chocolate based on the front label, which stated that the product contained 70% or 85% Cacao. The plaintiff, a Mr Lee, said this was misleading as the company was using Cocoa and not cacao, which Mr Lee claimed was unprocessed and healthier.
Mr Lee described Cocoa as an inferior version of Cocoa and argued that the expected health benefits of Cocoa were not present in the Green and Blacks chocolate bar, which used processed Cocoa.
Green & Black claims that its products are labelled in accordance with Food and Drug Administration standards.
Mondelez’s lawyers have filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the labels are accurate because Cocoa is made from cacao.
Nowhere in the standard of identity for ‘cocoa products’ does the FDA address the ingredients necessary for a product to be labelled ‘cocoa,'” the judge wrote in his ruling. “Instead, the regulations show that FDA often confuses Cocoa and cacao… Both chocolate paste and cocoa powder are derived from the cocoa plant, and because the ingredient lists indicate that the products contain both chocolate paste and cocoa powder, it follows that the products themselves are made from Cocoa.
The Southern District of New York judge agreed with Mondelez, saying it was implausible that a reasonable consumer would associate unprocessed cacao when reading the label.