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This spring, two separate lawsuits have been filed towards McDonald’s and one was filed towards Burger King alleging comparable causes of motion and in search of comparable cures, a part of a rising pattern of shopper product circumstances involving polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

PFAS, usually referred to as “forever chemicals,” are generally utilized in meals packaging in an effort to forestall packaging leakage. On October 18, 2021, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan announced a strategic roadmap aimed toward considerably lowering the usage of the chemical substances, together with a complete technique to deal with the issue.

“Whereas the three circumstances have been filed individually, all of them rely partly on third-party testing reviews, akin to a Client Report that supposedly discovered elevated ranges of complete natural fluorine in meals packaging, which some contend is a measure of PFAS,” says Matt Walker, an affiliate at Lathrop GPM Legislation Agency in Chicago.

The federal authorities’s actions towards PFAS in meals packaging has largely relied on voluntary section outs of sure compounds, however a number of states have moved to ban the sale of PFAS in meals packaging.

The main points of the circumstances are as follows. In April, plaintiff Azman Hussein sued Burger King within the U.S. District Court docket for the Northern District of California. The category motion lawsuit alleges that ,whereas Burger King markets its meals as utilizing “actual components” with “no secrets and techniques,” and sustainable packaging, the corporate was allegedly exposing customers to hurt by utilizing PFAS-coated meals packaging.

“The grievance particulars a number of examples of Burger King’s statements concerning the security of its meals,” Walker says. “The proposed class consists of any individual in america, or the California subclass, who bought Burger King merchandise. Hussein seeks medical monitoring for the proposed class, along with financial damages and injunctive aid.”

In a lawsuit filed March 28 within the U.S. District Court docket for the Southern District of Illinois, plaintiff Larry Clark alleged that McDonald’s Company additionally was utilizing PFAS product packaging, opposite to its food-safety pledge, leading to what the lawsuit says is fraud and misleading enterprise practices. “The plaintiff alleges he bought merchandise from numerous McDonald’s eating places in a number of central Illinois counties, however doesn’t determine any particular franchisees,” Walker says.

On March 31, plaintiff Ken McDowell introduced a category motion towards McDonald’s Company within the U.S. District Court docket for the Northern District of Illinois, making comparable allegations that the merchandise have been fraudulently and misleadingly marketed as protected for customers and environmentally pleasant, in violation of federal and state shopper safety legal guidelines. “Amongst financial damages and injunctive aid, McDowell seeks medical monitoring on behalf of a nationwide class and California subclass,” Walker provides.

Whereas the complaints make numerous allegations of potential human well being results and refer to varied state and federal regulatory actions to deal with PFAS, these lawsuits don’t carry conventional tort claims for private harm says Walker. As a substitute, they carry claims arising from the misrepresentation of their merchandise as protected based mostly on violations of shopper safety and false promoting legal guidelines. “Definitely, a judgment in favor of plaintiffs can be detrimental for the business, however even within the absence of a verdict, the mixture of media consideration, rising regulatory strain, and shopper activism implies that the meals business will probably be the goal of constant litigation,” Walker provides.

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