A Florida resident has alleged in a putative class action that Kraft Foods and Hormel Foods deceive the public by selling their prepackaged retail sandwich meat products in a way that suggests they contain far less fat than they actually do. Kuenzig v. Kraft Foods, Inc., No. 11-00838 (U.S. Dist. Ct., M.D. Fla., Tampa Div., filed April 18, 2011).
The companies allegedly state on their product labels that the sliced ham, turkey and other deli-style meats are 95, 96, 97, or 98 percent fat-free and juxtapose this information with a calorie count per serving. According to the plaintiff, this leads consumers to believe that of the 50 calories in a serving, for example, less than 5 percent comes from fat. Because the products could actually derive one-half of their calories from fat, the plaintiff contends that health-conscious consumers “will continue to be surprised to learn that Products they’ve purchased—and perhaps have repurchased for years—are about ten times the amounts of fat claimed.”
Seeking to certify a nationwide class of consumers who purchased these products since April 2006, the plaintiff alleges breach of express warranty, breach of the Uniform Commercial Code, violation of state unfair or deceptive practices laws, fraudulent and intentional misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, quantum meruit, false pretenses and fraudulent conversion, trespass to chattels, and replevin. He seeks an injunction to stop the defendants “from continuing to misrepresent the true fat content of their Products, and requiring them to state the percentage of fat by calories”; exemplary, treble or punitive damages; attorney’s fees; and costs.
A Kraft spokesperson reportedly called the lawsuit “unfounded. We stand behind the statements on our labels, which are true and clear. What’s more, these labels are regulated and approved by the USDA prior to use.” See WCSC TV, April 19, 2011.