A proposed class action claims Stauffer’s Lemon Snap cookies are misleadingly labeled in that buyers are not informed that the product contains only a trace amount of lemon.
The 11-page suit argues that the name of the product and picture of lemons on its front label, absent qualifying statements such as “naturally flavored” or “artificially flavored,” falsely imply to consumers that the cookies contain a non-trace amount of lemon ingredients. In truth, however, the product made by defendant D F Stauffer Biscuit Co Inc. contains “no appreciable amount of lemons,” and instead lists “Natural and Artificial Flavors” in its ingredients list, the case says.
According to the lawsuit, Stauffer’s has sold more of its lemon snap cookies, and at higher prices, than it would have in the absence of its allegedly misleading labeling.
The filing relays that consumers prefer foods made with real lemons, as opposed to artificially lemon-flavored foods, for reasons that include taste and health benefits. According to the suit, the lemon flavor of the Stauffer’s Lemon Snap cookies lacks the complex taste that would be provided by real lemons and is provided by synthetic citral, a chemical the case says is derived from the petrochemical industry. Per the lawsuit, the “Natural and Artificial Flavor” listed among the product’s ingredients is a mix of natural and synthetic flavorings that imitate the taste provided by lemons without conferring the added benefits of fruit.
The Lemon Snap cookies, the suit says, lack the various health benefits that would be provided had they been flavored with real lemons, which contain “uniquely high levels” of antioxidants known as polyphenols and a significant amount of vitamin C. The Lemon Snaps product, however, “is unable to confer any health benefits” given it lacks an appreciable amount of lemon ingredients, the complaint stresses.
The lawsuit claims that because foods with an appreciable amount of lemon ingredients are not considered “a rare or pricey delicacy,” it is not unreasonable for consumers to expect that the Lemon Snaps contain more than a trace amount of real lemon.
The suit goes on to claim that the defendant has further misled consumers by including yellow food coloring in its Lemon Snaps to make the cookies appear as though they contain more lemon than they actually do. Absent the yellow dye, consumers may suspect that the product does not contain an appreciable amount of lemon ingredients, and buyers might inspect the cookies’ ingredients list to discover the truth, the case posits.
“However, reasonable consumers are not so distrustful to think they will be misled when buying a well-known product like defendant’s Lemon Snaps,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit looks to cover all Illinois residents who purchased the Stauffer’s Lemon Snaps cookies product within the applicable statute of limitations.
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