UPSETTING THE APPLE CA RT:
CERTIFYING CLASS ACTIONS FOR
FOOD LABELLING REFORM
Michela V Fiorido*
There is perhaps nothing more political, or more personal, in a person’s
day than the act of food and beverage consumption. For the majority of
Canadian s, maintaining good health has been t he most influential fac-
tor in the consumption choices they m ake,1 with food labels ser ving as
the most com mon source of nutr itional inform ation.2 However, just as the
label is the principal means of conveying in formation, it is also t he prin-
cipal means of selling a product.3 Consequently, consumers are bom-
barded with a sur feit of labels competing for their attention. Many labels
feature unregulated claims such as “100% Natural” or “Wholesome,” as
well as indications t hat their products have health benefits — all while
omitting reference to ingred ients or processes that some consumers con-
sider to be damaging to health.
While some food labelling may be dismissed as “mere puffery,”4 there
are many questionable lab els that truly compromise the intende d choices
of Canadian consumers. Although the current reg ulatory scheme aims
to fulfill leg itimate policy objectives regarding consumer health and
safety, it is also informed by corporate and market interests. Therefore,
* Michela V Fiorido, BA, M A, JD, is an associate at Har ris & Company LLP in
Vancouver, where she has recently complete d her articles after gr aduating
from the Universit y of British Columbia. While at H arris, she hopes to car ve
out a niche defending cl ass action employment lawsuit s. Special thank s are
due to Luciana Bra sil of Branch MacMaster L LP for her encouragement and
guidance in t he writing of this p aper.
1 See Canadi an Council of Food and Nutrition, Tracking Nutrition Trends: A 20-
Year History (Mississ auga, ON: CCFN/CCAN, 2009) at 19, online: Can adian
Foundation for Dietetic R esearch www.cfdr.ca/Sh aring/Tracki ng-Nutrition-
Trends -(TNT).a spx.
2 See ibid at 25.
3 See Michael Hunt, “Ma nufacturers’ Needs” in J Ra lph Blanchfield, ed, Food
Labelling (Cambr idge: Woodhead Publishing, 200 0) 13 at 13.
4 Mere puffs are in sincere sales claim s not meant to be taken seriously or t o
have legal conse quences: see Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ba ll Co,  1 QB 256
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