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Judge dismisses Hormel lawsuit over ‘natural’ labels

13-Sep-2011

A federal judge has dismissed Hormel Foods’ claim that meat products containing sodium lactate or potassium lactate are misbranded as ‘natural’, because the USDA has not issued a final agency action, according to court papers.

Hormel had claimed that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave its competitors an unfair advantage by allowing them to label meat products containing sodium or potassium lactate as natural.

 

The USDA had said in a 2007 letter that it was in the process of evaluating the term natural for meat and poultry products, and has still not issued a final action.

 

“Far from determining the legal rights of Hormel, its competitors, or the public, the July 31, 2007 letter merely indicates that the USDA is in the process of evaluating "natural" claims, a process that, when culminated, may determine legal rights, but does not now do so,” the court papers said.

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