Beyond Meat Wins Ruling Against Former Co-Packer

Sept. 1, 2021
Some of the key counts in a lawsuit against Beyond Meat by a former contract manufacturer have been dismissed by a California judge.

Some of the key counts in a lawsuit against Beyond Meat by a former contract manufacturer have been dismissed by a California judge, although the four-year-old suit is still active.

Beyond Meat was sued in May 2017, in the third year of a five-year co-manufacturing agreement with processor Don Lee Farms. Don Lee alleged that Beyond Meat improperly broke the contract by citing spurious health and safety concerns. The suit further alleged that Beyond had stolen Don Lee’s trade secrets for manufacturing its signature Beyond Burger. In 2019, Don Lee amended its lawsuit to charge that Beyond had altered safety reports to make it appear that Don Lee had been negligent.

Beyond countersued, charging that the food safety concerns were bad enough to void the contract, and that Beyond had developed the manufacturing techniques in question with little help from Don Lee.

The Aug. 27 ruling by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Holly Fujie ruled against Don Lee on the claims of stealing trade secrets. However, most of Don Lee’s other claims, including the charges of doctored safety reports, were allowed to stand. A trial is scheduled for May of next year.

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