You’re a manufacturer of a delicious cocoa-hazelnut spread enjoying a new-found popularity in the United States. You’ve complied with all American food labeling laws, including providing a complete list of ingredients and nutritional information. Despite this, you’re now $3 million poorer – all because a pair of particularly litigious mothers couldn’t be troubled to combine a thorough reading of the label with a healthy serving of common sense.
Such is the predicament facing Ferrero, the Italian maker of Nutella after losing a class action lawsuit. Despite television commercials declaring the tasty spread to be a part of “a tasty yet balanced breakfast,” the sugary, calorie-laden condiment – which is probably no worse for kids than sugary, calorie-laden breakfast cereals – is not, in fact, as boringly healthy as plain granola. That kids actually enjoyed slathering it on toast should have been a tip-off.
But the class action lawsuit against Ferrero isn’t just another example of ludicrous litigation. It’s an example of the type of legal abuse that undermines any notion of personal responsibility – and drives business into the protective arms of big government. Read the rest of this entry »