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Bagel Bites, the iconic frozen mini-bagels topped with cheese and other popular pizza ingredients, doesn’t actually contain real cheese and tomato sauce, or so Cheese State resident Kaitlyn Huber has claimed in a class-action federal lawsuit filed last month.
Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, the suit accuses the product’s maker, Kraft Heinz, of deceiving customers by claiming on its Bagel Bites’ packaging that they contain “real” Mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce.
The suit specifically complains about the use of fillers and thickeners.
For instance, it complains that while the cheese does contain “part-skim mozzarella cheese,” it also contains “modified food starch,” and this is problematic because real cheese isn’t supposed to contain added 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,” it states.
The suit similarly says that while the tomato sauce does contain tomatoes, it also contains cornstarch and methylcellulose, both of which it is alleged have been added purposefully to “reduce the amount of tomatoes used by thirty-five percent.”
“Reasonable Wisconsin consumers expect a product claiming to contain ‘Tomato Sauce’ will contain only tomato ingredients and seasonings instead of thickeners like cornstarch and methylcellulose,” it states.
View the suit below:
“Plaintiffs and class members would not have purchased the Product or paid as much if the true facts had been known, suffering damages,” the suit reads.
It asks that Kraft Heinz correct its alleged packaging error and pay an unspecified amount for the purported damage concurred.
And yes, this lawsuit is 100 percent real. But does it stand a chance in hell of actually going anywhere? That depends on whom you ask.
Speaking Friday on Fox News’ “Fox News @ Night,” two attorneys, Bryan Rotella and Harry Litman, discussed this very case. For his part, Rotella thought the case was, well, stupid.
“I’m sorry, but what’s next? If I open up a Dr. Pepper and a doctor doesn’t come out, we’re going to have a lawsuit? This is the type of lawsuit that unfortunately … gives us lawyers a bad name,” he said.
He added that he’s “not buying” the claim from Huber that a “reasonable consumer” would be “deceived if it doesn’t have 100 percent mozzarella real cheese.”
“I don’t think the plaintiff was deceived. I think this is the type of case that gets thrown out,” he said.
But Litman vehemently disagreed.
Listen to what he had to say below:
(Video: Fox News)
For one, Litman pointed to a statement from Kraft Heinz that praises its allegedly “delicious, high-quality ingredients.”
“Bagel Bites, the perfect bite-sized pizza snack, are made with delicious, high-quality ingredients that our fans know and love. We proudly stand by the food we make, and are focused on bringing great products to market. The lawsuit lacks any merit, and we will strongly defend our brand,” the statement reads.
There’s just one problem.
“You don’t see them saying it has cheese in these ‘delicious, high-quality ingredients.’ It says right here it has real cheese,” Litman noted while pointing to a box of Bagel Bites.
He added that what makes Heinz’s actions even more grossly offensive is that they’re selling fake cheese products in the country’s cheese capital.
“This is in America’s Dairyland. We know cheese. Anyone who knows cheese … would know the difference between cheese and, when you go to the fine print, and it’s ‘cheese blend,'” he said.
“I don’t know what ‘cheese blend’ is. I know what cheese is. They have more modified food starch, [and] it’s worse for you. I don’t care if it’s delicious. It says it has cheese; it doesn’t have cheese!” he added.
He wasn’t wrong. As seen below, the ingredients include “cheese blend,” not cheese.
However, Rotella still wasn’t convinced.
“I think the reasonable consumer in Wisconsin … they’re going to know that the Pizza Bagel Bites in the freezer aisle doesn’t have real cheese,” he tried arguing.
But Litman quickly retorted, noting, “He just said it! They would know it doesn’t have real cheese, except it says it has real cheese. They would know that Kraft is lying. I don’t think so!”
If Huber does manage to eke out a victory, any Wisconsin, Arkansas or Ohio resident who purchased Bagel Bites “during the applicable statutes of limitations” will be eligible to collect a payment, according to NBC’s Today.
Huber’s attorney, Spencer Sheehan, told Today that the suit was originally filed in the New York area but was then withdrawn and moved to Wisconsin to take advantage of the fact that the Midwestern state is the country’s dairy capital.
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