‘Parmesan Lawsuits’ Tossed Out Of Court

A U.S. judge on Thursday dismissed lawsuits by consumers who had sued food manufacturers and retailers over their “100% grated Parmesan cheese” labels, alleging they were deceiving buyers because the products actually contained cellulose filling.
Starting in early 2016, companies such as The Kraft Heinz Co, Target Corporation, Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Supervalu Inc were hit with some 50 lawsuits, which were consolidated in a multidistrict litigation in federal court in Chicago.
The lawsuits on behalf of consumers claimed the companies violated various state consumer protection statutes by labeling their products as being 100 percent cheese, when a list on the back of containers clearly showed other ingredients.
But U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman said the plaintiffs’ claims were doomed “by the readily accessible ingredient panels on the products that disclose the presence of non-cheese ingredients.”
The judge said reasonable consumers would know the grated cheese must contain some additives, given that it does not require refrigeration before the container is opened.
A common food additive made of wood pulp, cellulose is described on the cheese ingredient lists as an additive “to prevent caking.”
Plaintiffs have until Sept. to amend their complaints and reassert their claims.
“Kraft Heinz applauds the Court’s dismissal of plaintiffs’ complaints today and fully agrees that the labeling of our Parmesan cheese is not misleading,” the company said in a statement.
The other companies did not respond to a request for comment.
Source: Reuters
Photo: walmart.com

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