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Illegal Drugs Pictured on Food Label

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Brendan Triplett

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 03:44 PM

Hey all,


Interesting situation I have come across.  A friend of mine reached out from a marketing team and told me that they are currently selling a great product and would like to change the packaging for a few days to celebrate marijuana from 4.20.  In doing so they normally have a picture of the product on the product packaging and would like to change it out to be a small amount of marijuana on the food packaging instead of the physical product itself.  Let me give you a better example:


Say they are selling burgers.  The box that the burgers comes in has a picture of a juicy burger on the box.  To celebrate 4.20 they are going to be selling the same burgers but the packaging will have a patty made of a green plant like substance that is meant to represent marijuana.


Any violations here other than a moral issue?


Thanks for the input in advance.  Cheers!

Vice President and SQF Practitioner in Pennsylvania
Brendan Triplett



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Posted 29 April 2020 - 05:07 PM

Green plant like substance ... all I can say is yum!!! LOL


420 has an interesting origin in the world of weed.


It can be traced back to a small farm in Point Reyes, California


I would think a picture of a cannibis farm and story on the package about this area of California might be a better approach.

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Posted 03 May 2020 - 02:27 AM

No idea what agency exactly would be annoyed by that. I seem to see a lot of similar advertising with no issue but that doesn't mean anything legally (or whether it will annoy customers)


They may want to skip the customary "serving suggestion" disclaimer on the picture. :)

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Posted 06 May 2020 - 05:55 PM

I would be more worried about potential alienation of a large group that might tend to be very judgemental and hold a grudge . Those people really need to mellow out!

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Posted 07 May 2020 - 04:15 PM

Usually any picture on a package would be assumed to be representative of the product inside. Since there (presumably) is no marijuana inside the package, this could be a violation of some truth-in-advertising rule. But I think the bigger risks are, as Hoosiersmoker noted, alienating their customers who are not inclined to support use of a (federally) illegal substance.
As a side note, in Washington state where recreational marijuana is legal, products such as cookies to which it is added are classified as “edibles” rather than food. The state department of agriculture, which enforces food safety regulations, does inspect the edibles manufacturers and requires them to follow GMPs, but will only approve production of shelf-stable products that would not be required to comply with other federal policies such as LACF, in order to avoid bringing federal regulatory agencies into the mix.

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