Quesada v. Herb Thyme Farms, Inc.
This case was brought by a California consumer on behalf of herself and similarly situated people, alleging that an herb grower mixed its organically-grown and conventionally-grown herbs together and then labeled the combined herbs “organic” and sold them for the prices consumers will pay for organic products. The consumer alleged violations of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the California False Advertising Act, and the California Unfair Competition Law. The herb grower argued in response that state-law claims based on labeling of food as organic are preempted by the federal Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). We filed an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court explaining that OFPA does not preempt state-law claims by consumers who have been misled into believing that the food they are buying was organically grown when, in fact, it was not. On December 3, 2015, the California Supreme Court held that OFPA does not preempt state-law claims that food is being intentionally mislabeled as organic.