Does anybody really believe “Greek” yogurt is imported from Greece? That’s what some lawyers want a federal court in New York to think. They’ve filed a class action against Chobani Yogurt, alleging false advertising. Among other claims, they argue Chobani has misled consumers by labeling its yogurt as “Greek” even though “[n]one of the Products sold in the U.S. are made in Greece or made by Greek nationals…”
Under various state laws and under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, it is illegal to make false or misleading advertisements. State and federal officials often take complaints by consumers and then initiate prosecutions for fraud. Sometimes individuals sue on their own, and plaintiffs’ lawyers often file class actions alleging misleading advertising, hoping to strike it rich. It might actually be prohibited by federal law, but suing to change food labels is a lucrative business.
The plaintiffs and their lawyers have made the absurd claim that calling Greek yogurt Greek yogurt “caus[es] the reasonable consumer to believe that… Products are made in Greece and imported from Greece.” Only a plaintiff’s lawyer could say this with a straight face. As a Chobani spokesperson put it:
[L]ike English muffins and French fries, Greek yogurt is a product description about how we authentically make our yogurt and not about where we make our yogurt in Upstate New York and Idaho…
As consumer prices continue to rise, remember to thank the lawyers for lawsuits like this one.