Are lawyers to blame for rising food costs?

The Lempert Report
December 20, 2013

Forget weather, harvests or corn production… is the rising cost of food prices a result of… Legal fees?

A new report, The New Lawsuit Ecosystem, from the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform suggests it is. The report notes that “an unprecedented surge in consumer class actions against food and beverage manufacturers… alleging trivial violations of federal regulations and…[seeking] millions of dollars where no reasonable consumer was deceived.”

According to the report,  this trend is part of a “litigious culture” with many of the Lawyers gaining traction from issues like,  whether ingredients are “natural,” technical issues with labeling, or any suggestion that food provides a health benefit.   Some of the law firms behind this food-lawsuit surge were active in the state attorneys general tobacco litigation. The report suggests lawyers generally have the same playbook in mind, proposing a multistate attack on Big Food.

I don’t quite see tobacco and food-beverage on the same plane, but I’m certainly not surprised to see a lawsuit push.  The food industry should be more transparent and agree to labeling standards that serve stakeholders, and most importantly, consumers.  If this report is correct however, it unfortunately means money that could help