Chobani wins court battle in Canada, is accused of misleading consumers in the US

Chobani Greek Yogurt, pictured here from Chobani.ca, is the subject of a recent decision in the Federal Court of Canada.

Greek-style yogurt has been making headlines after a ruling in the Federal Court of Canada found in favour of US yogurt-maker Chobani. In the ruling, released in late July, Justice Sandra Simpson held that the company could continue importing the product into Canada on a temporary basis, without paying the hefty tariffs of 237.5 per cent that would normally apply.

Lexpert-ranked lawyer Robert Armstrong, a partner with Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, who represented Agro-Farma Canada Inc., told our sister publication Canadian Lawyer:

It was very satisfying to receive the reasons of the Federal Court because our client is anxious to bring Chobani to Canadian consumers, he said.

(Agro-Farma Canada Inc. is the Canadian affiliate of American dairy processor Agro-Farma Inc. that produces Chobani.)

Meanwhile, in the US, a recent feature in The New York Times Magazine describes a trend of litigation launched against food manufacturers. The allegations that food companies – and the makers of Chobani are among them – are misleading consumers by violating specific rules about ingredients and labels, may be of interest to Lexpert readers. According to the story, the food industry is concerned about the cases, with one prominent food safety lawyer reportedly stressing to her clients the urgent need comply with federal regulations – or suffer the consequences.

According to the magazine, Chobani has been sued for listing “evaporated cane juice,” as an ingredient in its pomegranate-flavored yogurt, a term the suit says the Food and Drug Administration has warned companies not to use because it is “false and misleading.” The suit names 18 flavours of Chobani, more than half its line. The company told The New York Times the suit was “frivolous” and “without merit.”

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