Judge dismisses lawsuit v Mondelēz over ‘real fruit’ claims on Nabisco cookies, says allegations are ‘ridiculous’

By Elaine WATSON

- Last updated on GMT

Judge: 'The complaint alleges that a reasonable consumer would think that Newtons ‘made with real fruit,’ exclude fruit purée. This strains credibility'
Judge: 'The complaint alleges that a reasonable consumer would think that Newtons ‘made with real fruit,’ exclude fruit purée. This strains credibility'
A federal judge has dismissed as “ridiculous” allegations in a lawsuit alleging Nabisco misled shoppers by describing its cookies as containing ‘real fruit’ when they in fact contained fruit purée.

In a proposed class action lawsuit filed in California in May, plaintiff Monique Manchouck said she had interpreted the statement ‘made with real fruit’ on strawberry and raspberry Newton cookies to mean that they contained “real fruit, not merely mechanically processed fruit purée, which is not ‘real fruit’ ”.  

The statement, ’made with real fruit,’ is a material misrepresentation that is likely to deceive reasonable consumers, such as plaintiff and the class, thereby resulting in economic damages, alleged Manchouck.

However, in his September 26 order granting a motion to dismiss the case from defendant Mondelēz International (doing business as Nabisco), US district judge William Alsup said it “strains credibility” ​to think reasonable consumers would feel duped by such label claims.

It is ridiculous to say that consumers would expect snack food ‘made with real fruit’ to contain only ‘actual strawberries or raspberries

Manchouck, he said, had “not plausibly alleged why the statement ‘made with real fruit’ would not include mechanically separated fruit purée".

He added: “The complaint alleges that a reasonable consumer would think that Newtons ‘made with real fruit,’ exclude fruit purée. This strains credibility.   

“The 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.”

Attorney: Sometimes common sense does prevail...

Commenting on the case, Justin Prochnow, an attorney in the Denver office of law firm Greenberg Traurig, said: "Every once in a while, we get word that common sense still occasionally wins the day – although not as often as it should!"

The case is Manchouck v. Mondelez International, Inc. Case #: 3:2013-cv-02148              

Related topics: Snacks, Regulation & Safety

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