Cabot Creamery is facing a consumer class action suit in a California federal court alleging that the company’s Greek yogurt products are not authentic and therefore falsely labeled and advertised.
The complaint states, “Just as the mineral pyrite resembles gold, Cabot Greek resembles Greek yogurt. But fool’s gold is not gold. And Cabot Greek is not yogurt.”
According to plaintiff Timothy Smith, to manufacture authentic Greek yogurt, the solids must be strained after the fermentation of milk (regular yogurt keeps both the solids and liquids). While regular yogurt requires one gallon of milk to produce one gallon of yogurt, Greek yogurt takes four gallons of milk per gallon. The result should be a “thick, protein-packed yogurt with consistency like sour cream.”
Cabot’s Greek yogurt “is different” and “not made the way Greek yogurt is supposed to be made,” Smith argues, because instead of filtering out excess liquids, the product is thickened by adding whey protein concentrate and milk protein concentrate.
In addition, such concentrates have been banned from use in yogurt by the Food and Drug Administration, Smith says, making the product adulterated. Therefore, the product is not yogurt as a matter of law, according to the complaint.
The suit seeks to certify a nationwide class of consumers entitled to injunctive and monetary relief, both compensatory and punitive.
To read the complaint in Smith v. Cabot Creamery, click here.
Why it matters: Manufacturers must be increasingly mindful in this Internet age that consumers are far more educated than in times past about how foods are produced. Companies that falsely advertise how their products are made or the ingredients they contain are more than ever the targets of class action suits.