California Supreme Court OKs consumer lawsuits contesting 'organic' labels on foods

SAN FRANCISCO – The California Supreme Court says state law allows consumers to file lawsuits alleging food products are falsely labeled “organic.”

The ruling Thursday overturns a lower court decision that barred such suits on the grounds that they were superseded by federal law.

The state Supreme Court said allowing lawsuits would further congressional goals of curtailing fraud and ensuring consumers can rely on organic labels.

At issue are allegations in a lawsuit by consumer Michelle Quesada that Herb Thyme Farms Inc. — one of the nation’s largest herb producers — mixed organic and non-organic herbs then falsely labeled the product “organic.”

A call to an attorney for Herb Thyme Farms was not immediately returned.