LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline) – ZICO Beverages has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by a customer alleging the company mislabeled a coconut water drink that claimed “no added sugar.”
Plaintiff Carlos Barrios filed suit against ZICO on March 2 claiming incorrect and mislabeling of “no sugar added” on its 100 Percent Coconut Water. According to the complaint, ZICO violated the Unfair Competition Law, False Advertising Law and the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act.
ZICO challenged this claim, saying its label is correct and lists the only ingredient as coconut water. ZICO argued the complaint should be dismissed because ZICO is not violating any laws as its label is Food Drug and Cosmetic Act-compliant.
ZICO combated Barrios' second allegation that the coconut water actually contains sugar by emphasizing Barrios failed to provide any factual support showing otherwise. It alleged Barrios failed to state facts that support his allegations of sugar being added by not providing details as to which sugars naturally occur, which ones were supposedly added or any information on the laboratory testing.
Barrios also claimed that “ZICO cannot use the 'No Sugar Added' label because ZICO Coconut Water 'does not resemble and substitute for a food that normally contains added sugars, including, without limitation, pure, or 100 percent, orange juice,'” which violates a Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) regulation.
ZICO disputes this claim by saying case law established a reasonable consumer would not be deceived and “it is literally true based on the very ingredients identified in the FDCA-compliant label.”
ZICO also urged the court that if it did not dismiss the complaint based on the reasons outlined in the memorandum, then it should stay the entire case due to two pending cases in the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit involving Mott’s and Ocean Spray.
ZICO emphasized both cases involved similar “no sugar added” claims and would clarify and simplify this case once rulings were issued.
The case had a hearing scheduled for May 25 with the Western Division of the Central District Court of California.