Judge dismisses lawsuit alleging that ‘natural’ apple juice shouldn’t contain trace pesticides

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On October 6, 2020, a California judge dismissed an amended complaint alleging that apple juice and applesauce products sold by Mott’s, LLP …. were falsely advertised as “Natural” and/or “All Natural Ingredients” where they contained trace amounts of …. acetamiprid, a neonicotinoid pesticide.

The amended complaint was virtually identical to the original complaint …. but for the addition of two generic surveys which Plaintiff alleged demonstrated that consumers did not expect “natural” products to contain trace amounts of pesticides.

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Relying on precedent dealing with nearly identical issues (even the same two surveys were involved), the Court rejected Plaintiff’s argument and held that the surveys were not enough to demonstrate that a reasonable consumer would believe that a “natural” food product would contain no residual pesticides, even in trace amounts.

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