Florida AG Pam Bondi has filed a complaint against the Miami-based Icebox Cafe and its owner for allegedly supplying non-locally sourced or sustainable products as touted on restaurants' menus. The complaint -- which seeks an injunction under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act -- alleges that the "self-proclaimed farm-to-table eatery" misled customers by claiming the restaurant received state certification as a local provider and sold local products. However, according to the complaint, a national food distributor, SYSCO, actually provided much of the food sold.
The AG's press release further states that it, along with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services "are currently looking into the business practices of so-called farm-to-table restaurants across the state to ensure consumers are not being deceived." Accordingly, it seems likely that future enforcement actions will be announced.
State AGs haven't, to date, been on the forefront of food advertising complaints -- leaving that area mostly to the plaintiffs' class action bar. However this action may be an indication of new enforcement to come, in Florida and elsewhere.
Some examples cited in the complaint include: · Claiming one restaurant sold produce from Paradise Farms, in Homestead with no record of purchase from this source; · Offering fish such as wild salmon, with no invoices substantiating that claim; and · Falsely professing to create Garden-to-Glass and Farm-to-Bar cocktails made with ingredients often picked from a nearby garden.