On Friday, Eric Wilim filed a complaint in the Northern District of Illinois against Mondelez Global LLC for the misleading labeling of their “Honey Wheat” Ritz crackers, alleging that they do not contain a reasonable amount of whole grains, honey or fibers for what is advertised.
According to the complaint, a majority of consumers consider whole grains to be an essential part of their diet and an excellent source of fiber. The FDA recommends 48 grams of whole grains and 28 grams of fiber per day. However, the Honey Wheat crackers only contain 5 grams of whole grains and less than 1 gram of fiber per serving, despite the “minimum meaningful amount of whole grains deserving of mention in front-of-pack labeling is 8g per serving” according to epidemiological studies cited by the complaint.
Furthermore, the relative amount of refined, as opposed to unrefined, grains is unspecified, the complaint explained. Also, the plaintiff alleges that calling these products “honey wheat” implies that the main sweetener is honey; however, according to the product’s packaging, honey is listed third behind sugar and palm oil, meaning the other two ingredients appear in higher quantities in these products.
Thus, the plaintiff claimed that the crackers are misleadingly labeled since “reasonable consumers must and do rely on a company to honestly identify and describe the components, attributes, and features of a product.” Furthermore, the lawsuit claims that consumers would have paid less “if they knew the truth.”
Thus, the plaintiff is suing on a violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, violations of similar laws in other states, breaches of express warranties, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and unjust enrichment.
The plaintiff is seeking class certification; injunctive relief directing the defendants to correct their labeling and for restitution and disgorgement; monetary, statutory and punitive damages; attorney’s fees and costs; and other relief.
The plaintiff is represented by Sheehan & Associates, P.C.