Pattishall IP Blog

October 8, 2010

FTC Issues First Proposed Revision to Green Guides Since 1998

Filed under: Advertising — Tags: , , — Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP @ 4:44 pm

by Phillip Barengolts, Esq.

Use of environmental claims in promotions and advertising has greatly expanded in recent years.  Inaccurate or unsupported claims can result in an action by the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), an objection before the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau or the filing of a federal lawsuit for false advertising under the Lanham Act by a competitor.  Such lawsuits have become more common as environmental claims play a greater role in consumer perception of products.[1]

To address the expanding role of environmental claims, the FTC has proposed revisions to its Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims,[2] referred to as the “Green Guides,” for the first time since 1998 (the “Proposed Revisions”).  The Proposed Revisions are available on the FTC web site:  Comments on the Proposed Revisions will be accepted through December 10, 2010.  Below is a brief summary of the main proposals by the FTC. (more…)

October 22, 2009

FDA Announces Intent to Target Nutritional Claims on Food Packaging

Filed under: Advertising — Tags: , , — Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP @ 8:02 pm

By Alexis Payne, Esq.

The Office of Nutrition, Labeling and Dietary Supplements Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued its “Guidance for Industry: Letter Regarding Point of Purchase Food Labeling.”  In the letter, the FDA announced its intent to take action against food manufacturers who make nutritional claims on front of packaging (FOP) food labeling that misleads consumers on the products’ health benefits.  Currently, FOP labeling is voluntary information that is intended to provide information about nutritional attributes of food.  Nevertheless, FOP labeling is subject to the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that prohibit false or misleading claims.

The FDA reported that FOP labeling makes it less likely consumers will read the Nutritional Facts labels on foods, which are typically located on the side or back of food packaging.  The FDA also announced its investigation of misleading FOP labels.  Part of this investigation centers on food manufacturers’ use of symbols that expressly or impliedly advertise nutrient content claims. (more…)

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