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Miyoko's Kitchen “Butter” Lawsuit Voluntarily Dismissed

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  • Laura Payne

A lawsuit challenging a vegan butter has been voluntarily dismissed according to Food Navigator.

At the center of the lawsuit is Miyoko's Kitchen, a vegan food company known for their variety of cheeses. A class action was filed in 2018 by Jasmine Brown claiming that the Miyoko's Kitchen vegan butter did not meet the FDA standards that would let it be labeled as “butter.”

The claim stipulated that the so-called butter lacked proper nutrients (vitamin A, D, and calcium).  The FDA also mandates there should be at least 80% milk fat in butter.  In June of 2017, the European Court of Justice said purely plant-based products could not use dairy names such as "butter" or "milk."  This continues to be a point of contention between dairy groups and legislative groups in many countries.

The company founder, Miyoko Schinner, has stated she is unable to talk about the settlement but has confirmed that they will not be making any changes to the butter or the labels. 

An attorney unrelated to the case has spoken on it, however, and according to him, it is surprising that the case was settled.  He states that it will not be surprising if copycat lawsuits come. The laws surrounding dairy and dairy substitutes are so specific that using words such as “butter” have made Miyoko's Kitchen and other such companies vulnerable.

What actually is a voluntary dismissal?
There are two possibilities. The first possibility is that there has been a mutually agreed settlement for an amount below what the plaintiff was originally attempting to claim. The other grounds for a voluntary dismissal often include a fundamental flaw in the plaintiff's case. Many vegan activists support the basis for the latter.

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