Nestlé Prepared Foods Co. has filed a complaint against the suppliers of ingredients for its Lean Cuisine® frozen meals, which it was apparently forced to recall when it learned that some of the meals were contaminated with foreign, hard blue plastic pieces. Nestlé Prepared Foods Co. v. Nat’l Food Trading Corp., No. 10-1077 (U.S. Dist. Ct., D. Utah, Cent. Div., filed October 29, 2010). According to the complaint, the plastic pieces were mixed into the sun-dried tomatoes that defendants sold to Nestlé. Customer complaints purportedly alerted Nestlé to the contamination, and “[a]t least one consumer reported an injury caused by the hard blue plastic materials.”
Recalling some 880,000 pounds of frozen meals allegedly caused Nestlé to incur “substantial losses, including, but not limited to, refunds to customers, the value of the recalled meals, the value of the unusable sun dried tomatoes, cancelled orders, and the costs of shipping, storage, plant operations, and investigation, as well as interest.” The company also claims damage to its reputation. It alleges breaches of contract, express warranty and implied warranty; strict product liability; and negligence and seeks an award of compensatory damages, interest, costs, and attorney’s fees.