[N]o State or political subdivision of a State may directly or indirectly establish under any authority or continue in effect as to any food in interstate commerce —(3) any requirement for the labeling of food of the type required by section . . . 343(i). . . that is not identical to the requirement of such section.
This presents a classic case of conflict preemption, where it is impossible for a private party to comply with both state and federal law. It also presents a case of obstacle preemption where the state law stands as an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of the full purposes and objections of Congress. . . . [S]tate law that imposes obligations that are not identical to those imposed in Section . . . 343(i) of the [ FDCA], and the FDA’s implementing regulations for these sections, are expressly preempted.
Given that the Court finds that thecommon or usual name of a product that has had its pollen avoidably removed is honey, and that California [law] disallows such a product to be labeled honey, it imposes a requirement which is not imposed by federal law, and is therefore not identical to federal law. Consequently, the California [law] is preempted by the NLEA and Plaintiff’s state law claims based on a violation of [that] California [law] are also preempted.
The Court notes that its finding of preemption does not imply that California is powerless to act in this arena. For instance, if California required disclosure on its labels that the honey was e.g., “filtered” or “pollen free,” that would appear not to conflict expressly with [NELA]. California simply cannot . . .ban the use of the label “honey” for products which are commonly and usually called honey.
Indeed, the purpose of the NLEA was to create uniform national standards regarding the labeling of food and to prevent states from adopting inconsistent requirements with respect to the labeling of nutrients. This purpose is not served if states are allowed to displace federal labeling requirements. Therefore, the Court concludes that the operation of section 403(i) is not precluded by the enactment of a standard of identity under state law.
If the phrase “standard of identity” referred to both federally-created and state-created standards of identity, then state-created standards of identity would trump Federal Section 343(i)(1)’s requirement that a food be labeled by its “common or usual name,” even if a federal regulation establishes a “common or usual name” for the food.