SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) – Nestle has asked a California court to dismiss a class action lawsuit claiming that the company knowingly sold a brand of coffee creamer containing trans fat to consumers.
Nestle USA Inc. along with Save Mart Super Markets, Kroger Co., The Save Mart Cos. and Lucky Stores submitted the motion to dismiss on Nov. 30 to the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California.
The request is in response to an October class action suit filed by Mark Beasley alleging that Nestle sold Coffee-mate products and the various supermarkets sold the creamers in California stores knowing that the product contained partially hydrogenated oil (PHO). The entire matter is set for March 14 hearing.
According to Beasley's filing, Nestle "sold an unsafe and illegal product" in order to make a profit and such behavior was an unfair business practice. He alleged that Nestle "defrauded the class by using the false and unauthorized '0g Trans Fat' nutrient content claim on Coffee-mate packaging.
All PHO, however, contains trans fat, and the amount in Coffee-mate was not '0g,' but a substantial and dangerous amount," the suit says.
In June 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "issued a final regulation and declaratory order, after extensive public comment, declaring PHO unsafe for any use in food," the complaint states. "The FDA came to the same conclusion when it initially proposed the regulation in 2013."
Beasley alleged that Nestle and the other defendants were "aware that PHO was unsafe even before this time, yet still harmed their customers by manufacturing, distributing and selling Coffee-mate."
However, the defendants argue that "Congress expressly recognized the legality of the use of PHO in food products until June 18, 2018. California law expressly incorporates regulations promulgated under the (Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, including food additive regulations."