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Wednesday, 06 March 2013 09:29
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Fat-Free Deli Meat Class Action Lawsuit Dismissed
By Kimberly Mirando
A federal appeals court has affirmed the dismissal of a class action lawsuit accusing Kraft Foods and Hormel Foods of misleading consumers into believing their lunch-meat products contained fewer fat-calories than they actually did.Lead plaintiff Brad Kuenzig sued the deli-meat manufacturers in April 2011, claiming they used “a clever psychological technique to trick customers” into believing their deli meat products are as fat-free as they claim to be.This alleged deception was achieved by juxtaposing the fat-free claims next to the calories per serving claims on the label, which misled consumers into believing the two statements modified each other, he said.
For example, the label for Kraft Food’s Oscar Mayer Honey Ham proclaims it is “98% Fat Free * 50 calories per serving.” By placing the Percentage-Fat-Free claim directly beside the calorie statement, “Kraft is strongly suggesting to shoppers that 98% of those 50 calories are fat free and that only one or two calories, at most, come from fat. In some instances, the deli meats actually contained more than 10 times the amount of fat indicated on the product labels,” according to the class action lawsuit.Kuenzig appealed two dismissals of his class action lawsuit, including an amended complaint that added plaintiff Chrisanne Oliver.However, on February 1, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissals, agreeing with the district court’s “thorough and well-reasoned orders” that Kuenzig’s state law labeling claims are preempted by federal law and therefore properly dismissed for failure to state a claim, and that Kuenzig’s Little FTC ACT claims are barred by the safe harbor provision of the FDUTPA.The case is Kuenzig, et al. v. Hormel Foods Corp., et al., Case No. 8:11-cv-838-SCB-TGW, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.
Updated March 6th, 2013
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 09:42
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