A Wisconsin woman is suing Kraft Heinz Foods Company, alleging the packaging on one of their pizza bagel products is false, deceptive and misleading.
Kaitlyn Huber of Juneau County filed the suit over Kraft Heinz's Bagel Bites Pizza Snacks. The packaging describes the food as "mini bagels with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce."
But the plaintiff argues that is not the case, especially in Wisconsin, a state that takes its dairy seriously. The suit seeks class-action status for anyone who purchased the pizza bites in Wisconsin. The lawsuit further asks federal court to have Kraft Heinz correctly repackage the pizza bites.
The lawsuit contends that the bites don't actually contain mozzarella nor tomato sauce, instead citing the packaging's backside label that describes the cheese product as "cheese blend: part-skim mozzarella cheese and modified food starch."
"Wisconsin consumers want real mozzarella cheese in pizza because they value (1) its soft, moist texture, (2) its milky, yet tangy taste and (3) its high protein and relatively low calories and sodium compared to other cheeses," the suit states.
The plaintiff further allege that the packaging falsely uses the "REAL Seal," introduced in the 1970s as a way for the dairy industry to stop companies from using imitation cheeses on pizzas. The seal on the pizza bites packaging uses the traditional seal while adding "made with real cheese" to the logo.
"Defendant’s Product does not qualify for the traditional 'REAL' seal because the 'cheese blend' contains modified food starch, an extender and filler," the lawsuit states.
Finally, the lawsuit claims the packaging stating the bites contain tomato sauce is misleading. The lawsuit again refers to the nutrient label on the packaging's backside, citing "the sauce (water, tomato paste... modified corn starch... and methylcellulose." The lawsuit contends the sauce instead contains non-tomato extenders and thickeners.
The lawsuit concludes: "The name, 'Mini Bagels with Mozzarella Cheese and Tomato Sauce,' is deceptive because mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce, as these terms are understood by consumers and regulations, are not present in the Product or are present in an amount less than expected."
"As a result of the false and misleading representations, the Product is sold at a premium price, approximately no less than $10.99 for boxes of 72 bagel halves (56 OZ), excluding tax, compared to other similar products represented in a non-misleading way, and higher than it would be sold for absent the misleading representations and omissions," according to the lawsuit.
TMJ4 reached out to a Kraft Heinz spokesperson for comment, but did not immediately hear back Monday evening.