Live Debat e: State vs. Federal Rights as to Food Claims – The State of Preemption in Food Marketing and Advertising Compliance

July 30, 2014 12:15pm


Nerissa Coyle McGinn
Loeb & Loeb LLP (Chicago, IL)

Recently the “Food Court” (N.D.Cal.) rejected a food company’s primary jurisdiction argument based on preemption in a class action involving claims that the company deceptively labeled its product as natural. The court stated that the FDA has declined several requests to promulgate regulations or issue a policy statement regarding the use of the word “natural” on food product labeling. Therefore, the federal law did not preempt the plaintiff from bringing the suit under California state law. Come witness this live debate as to whether the federal government should issues hard rules as to these types of marketing claims, or whether the states should decide to what sort of food claims their citizens should be subjected. An age old debate – State vs. Federal Rights.


  • Pro State’s Rights – States should protect the health and safety of their citizens, including food, beverages, and dietary supplements
  • Pro Federal Rights – Since there are federal agencies (enabled by federal law) that regulate food (FDA, USDA), their laws preempt the states from making and enforcing laws in this arena