Faculty Notes

Prof. Norman Silber Quoted on Labeling Laws in Newsday Story on Food Flavoring Lawsuits

Norman I. Silber, Professor of Law

Great Neck attorney has a taste for vanilla-flavored lawsuits
By Ken Schachter
Oct. 17, 2019 (Updated Oct. 22, 2019)

A Long Island lawyer is waging a legal crusade against food makers that he says mislead consumers into believing their products are flavored with real vanilla.

Great Neck attorney Spencer Sheehan said that since the beginning of the year he has filed 27 lawsuits on behalf of consumers related to yogurt, cookies, oatmeal, almond milk, soy milk, cream soda and ice cream labeled as “vanilla.”

Norman Silber, who teaches consumer law at Hofstra University’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law, said that federal agencies have been “less than aggressive” in enforcing labeling laws.

“It’s not insignificant,” he said. “Consumers have to trust that the ingredients in a product are the ingredients.”

The failure of government agencies to enforce regulations “creates a void” where manufacturers may feel free to push the “boundaries of what’s acceptable,” Silber said.

At the same time, Silber said, some litigants and their lawyers press these cases in the hope of getting a settlement from the company “however meritorious they may or may not be.”

Read the full article on the Newsday website.