Judge Dismisses “Ridiculous” Real Fruit Claims Against Nabisco

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup dismissed with prejudice a putative class action complaint against Mondeléz International Inc., d/b/a Nabisco.   The Complaint alleged that the plaintiff  purchased strawberry and raspberry Newton cookies and relied on the labeling and advertising displayed on the front packaging, namely that the products were “made with real fruit.”  Plaintiff alleged that she interpreted the statement “made with real fruit” to mean that the products “contain[ed] real fruit — not merely mechanically processed fruit purée, which is not ‘real fruit.’ ”  As always, the Complaint further alleged that the plaintiff was economically damaged because she either would not have purchased, or would not have paid a “premium price” had she known it  contained processed fruit purée rather than “real fruit.”

The Court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6):

Plaintiff has not plausibly alleged why the statement “made with real fruit” would not include mechanically separated fruit purée.   This order agrees with the numerous decisions that have dismissed similar food labeling claims at the pleading stage.  Where, for example, a plaintiff challenged the use of the word “apple” in the name of an Apple Straws product that contained puréed apples and “veggies” in a product made  primarily of potatoes, the claim was rejected.  ****

[In sum], [t]he complaint has  failed to allege why real strawberries and raspberries in their puréed form are no longer “real  fruit.”   It is ridiculous to say that consumers would expect snack food “made with real fruit” to  contain only “actual strawberries or raspberries,” rather than these fruits in a form amenable to being squeezed inside a Newton.

Please see the entire ruling here.


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