Dishing Out the Latest F&B Litigation Updates: Part 4

Doss v. General Mills, No. 18-cv-61924 (S.D. Fla Aug.17, 2018)

The Skinny:  Last fall, a jury in California awarded $289 million to a plaintiff who alleged he contracted cancer from the glyphosate in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.  Now that a bellwether trail has concluded with a substantial plaintiff win, attention shifts to the Southern District of Florida where a case is proceeding against General Mills alleging that Cheerios contains levels of the same chemical. Also see Paracha v. General Mills Inc., No. 2:18-cv-07659 for a similar case filed in a different jurisdiction.

The Meat and Potatoes: The World Health Organization categorized the herbicide as a “probable human carcinogen.” Plaintiff alleges General Mills deceived consumers into thinking that their products were safe by omitting information about the presence of the herbicide in cereals. In their motion to dismiss, General Mills argues that the FDA “imposes no requirement that labels of multi-ingredient foods like Cheerios disclose the potential presence of trace pesticides.” Nevertheless, Doss claims that even extremely low levels of this chemical can cause cancer and she would not have purchased either product if not for this deceptive conduct. The food and beverage industry should follow the case to see if a glyphosate case can withstand the rigorous Eleventh Circuit ascertainability standard in Karhu. This case also will likely answer the interesting question: do plaintiffs have standing to bring forth claims for remote health risks that they have not experienced?