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Lawsuit claims Meadow Gold Dairies is misrepresenting Hawaiʻi links

wernerdetjen via Pixabay
wernerdetjen via Pixabay

HONOLULU — A local food distributor has filed a federal lawsuit against a dairy company because milk from the mainland is allegedly being sold under a name that advertises local ties.

The lawsuit filed by Hawaii Foodservice Alliance claims Meadow Gold Dairies is selling milk from California alongside advertising that says “Hawaii's Dairy” and “Made with Aloha," the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Friday.

The lawsuit says the company has no cows in Hawaiʻi and their “Lani Moo” mascot is misleading.

“A sustainable Hawaiʻi relies on locally produced and manufactured food. We believe that local farmers, ranchers, and local food production need to be protected from mainland products masquerading as local," said Hawaii Foodservice Alliance CEO Chad Buck in a statement.

Meadow Gold has long sold milk produced in Hawaiʻi. The company was sold in April 2020 to Bahman Sadeghi, a Big Island dairy farmer, who allegedly began using milk from outside the state.

“We have never claimed that all our milk is local, but we do consider ourselves Hawaiʻi’s Dairy because we are committed to Hawaiʻi and its community and will continue to be while we work toward building a more sustainable operation,” Meadow Gold said in a statement.

In a similar but unrelated case, a federal judge recently tossed out a lawsuit against California-based King’s Hawaiian, which produces sweet rolls.

Hawaiʻi Public Radio reported King’s Hawaiian was sued because their label features the words “Established 1950” and “Hilo, Hawaii” in reference to the company's founding.

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton said the packaging clearly states the rolls are made in California and a geographic reference like Hilo would not deceive a consumer into believing the product was made there.

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