U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Plaintiffs Get Another Crack at Cheez-Its

Something about Cheez-Its makes you want more.

Now the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals is giving plaintiffs something more. In Mantikas v. Kellogg Company, the appeals court is giving them another crack at the cracker maker.

The plaintiffs say the "whole grain" claim on the Cheez-It box could mislead customers to think the crackers are made mainly out of whole grains. The appeals panel basically said, well yeah and pass some of that to the trial court.

Class-Action Revived

A New York trial judge had dismissed the case last year, saying the class-action plaintiffs failed to state a claim. They alleged the whole grain label would cause a reasonable consumer to believe the cracker was predominantly whole grain.

But that's not so, according to their complaint. Cheez-Its are not even predominantly cheese; they're made mostly out of enriched white flour.

The Second Circuit said that's enough for the plaintiffs to proceed and reversed the trial court.

"The representation that a cracker is 'made with whole grain' would thus plausibly lead a reasonable consumer to conclude that the grain ingredient was entirely, or at least predominantly, whole grain," Judge Pierre Leval wrote for the court.

50 Billion Cheez-Its

"This is a very important decision for consumers," attorney Michael Reese told Courthouse News. "It holds you cannot promise consumers something on the front of a package, and then try to disclaim that on the back."

Yeah, but how do you make a Cheez-It? According to the Food Network, it takes a lot of cheesy dough.

The crackers started rolling out in 1921, and now they are packed into 50,000 boxes an hour. "We make 50 billion Cheez-Its a year," the manufacturer says.

Now do you want more?

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