Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that a federal law, the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA), expressly preempts state law claims relating to the alleged 10th Circuit Spotlightmisbranding of meat products. In doing so, the appellate court suggested that it will continue to read all preemption provisions broadly, leaving little room for states to regulate.

Case Background

The plaintiffs in the case filed a putative class action lawsuit against three meat-packing companies under New Mexico state law, alleging that the defendants put deceptive and misleading labels on their beef products. Thornton v. Tyson Foods, 2022 U.S. App. LEXIS 6380, at *2-3 (10th Cir. March 11, 2022). Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the use of a “Product of the U.S.A.” label was false and misleading because the defendants’ beef products didn’t originate from cattle born or raised in the United States. Id. According to the complaints, the defendants “imported live cattle from other countries, slaughtered and processed the cattle here, and labeled the resulting beef products as ‘Products of the USA.’” Id. at *3.

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