A resident New Yorker has started a multimillion dollar class-action lawsuit against The Kellogg Company over their Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts, because she claims the product does not have enough strawberries in the filling.
Elizabeth Russett, who is joined by three other plaintiffs — Kelvin Brown, Anita Harris, and Stacy Chiappetta — filed the lawsuit on October 19 along with lawyer Spencer Sheenan, claiming that Kellogg’s is falsely advertising its product.
“The strawberry representations are misleading because the product has less strawberries than consumers expect based on the labeling,” the lawsuit says. “The amount of strawberry ingredients is insufficient not merely to provide the nutrient benefits of strawberries but to provide a strawberry taste.”
The ingredients list shows that there is a small amount of pears and apples along with the strawberries in the filling. Even though it is a small amount of fruit, the pears and apples are listed before the strawberries. Because of this they claim that the description of the product is “false, deceptive, and misleading, because it contains mostly non-strawberry fruit ingredients.”
“This is about what should be on the front of the product,” says Sheenan. “There are rules and regulations put in place for protection of consumers so when they are at the store what products say on the front isn’t contradicted by what’s on the fine print.”
The lawsuit is for $5 million dollars in damages under the Class Action Fairness Act as well as a jury trial. It claims that buyers would not have purchased the Pop-Tarts if they knew about its low strawberry content.
In an interview with ABC News, the lawyer stressed that his client was “not asking for too much.”
“People say, ‘Oh you’re suing for $5 million,’ but it’s not quite what it means,” said Sheenan.”What it means is the amount in controversy is $5 million … It’s not a demand for $5 million, but of course, who wouldn’t like $5 million.”
The three other plaintiffs are each suing over a different version of the strawberry Pop-Tarts, with Chiappetta against Unfrosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts, and Brown and Harris against the Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts.
“The claims asserted in these cases strike me as so weak that the courts confronting them may dismiss them as implausible,” said Adam Fox, a partner at Squire Patton Boggs. “The notion that any plaintiff was moved to buy the product because of their belief that the products contained more strawberries than they actually do is likely to run into the reality that many, many consumers like the procuts because of the trusted brand with which they are associated or even just the taste or texture of the product.”
Kellogg’s in a statement to ABC News said, “While we don’t comment on pending litigation, we can tell you the ingredients in and labeling of all of our Pop-Tart products fully comply with all legal requirements.”