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Nutella Sued on False Advertising Allegations

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Nutella by Kazunori Matsuo on Flickr

Photo by Kazunori Matsuo on Flickr

On the heels of the Taco Bell lawsuit and just days before the celebration of World Nutella Day, a California woman is suing Ferrero USA, Inc., the stateside maker of the Italian chocolate hazelnut spread, Nutella.

The named plaintiff in the class action lawsuit against Nutella (PDF) is Athena Hohenberg, the mother of a four-year-old girl who claims she was misled by Ferrero USA’s claims that Nutella is “healthful” when in reality, the plaintiff alleges, the spread is “the next best thing to a candy bar.” The complaint states the plaintiff bought Nutella “because she sought a healthy snack or breakfast alternative for her household.”

Specifically, according to the complaint, Nutella’s advertising campaigns include “images and videos of wholesome families and happy, healthy children enjoying Nutella for breakfast before going to school.” These images are misleading, the complaint alleges, because the spread actually contains “about 70 percent saturated fat and processed sugar by weight,” and would therefore contribute to problems of obesity and high cholesterol levels — far from being “nutritious.”

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Southern California and claims violations of California’s false advertising and unfair competition laws as well as breach of warranty. The lawsuit seeks, among other things, to stop Ferrero USA from marketing Nutella as nutritious, to “conduct a corrective advertising campaign” to inform the public about levels of saturated fat in the product, and monetary damages.

According to the National Law Journal, a spokeswoman for Ferrero USA Inc., said the company “stands behind the quality of the spread’s ingredients and its advertising.”

What do you think of this lawsuit?

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February 3rd, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Posted in Class Actions

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