Class action challenges labeling of ‘New Mexico Chili’ peppers

Badia Spices faces a proposed class action that alleges the company’s “New Mexico Chili” peppers are essentially misbranded given that the product is grown in Mexico, not New Mexico.

The case alleges that Badia “New Mexico Chili” peppers originate in Mexico, which is disclosed only on the company’s website. This means consumers who view the product’s packaging would be unable to identify the actual country of origin.

“New Mexico Chili is deceptively misdescriptive as a name because the Product is not grown in New Mexico,” the suit summarizes.

The lawsuit contends that “New Mexico Chili” has not been used long enough or exclusively by Badia such that consumers generally understand it to refer to a product from a particular manufacturer or distributor.

The case stresses that a product whose name incorporates a geographic place is for consumers an indicator of quality. New Mexico chilis thrive in the state’s high altitudes, desert climate and rocky, mineral-rich soil, and the distinct flavors are “unlike chili peppers grown anywhere else in the world,” the suit says, noting that New Mexico chili is a “key industry” in the state.


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