ConAgra Foods, Inc., the maker of hot dogs and other food products sold under the brand name Hebrew National, was recently hit with a consumer fraud class action lawsuit. The plaintiffs contend in the complaint that the food products sold by ConAgra with the “Triangle K” symbol intended to confirm that the contents are kosher, in reality, were non-kosher. To compound the issue, according to the plaintiffs, a ConAgra subsidiary threatened to fire or otherwise retaliate against employees who complained about the actual manner in which the purportedly kosher food products were prepared. The plaintiffs are currently seeking class certification for all U.S. purchasers of Hebrew National products over the past four (4) years. Moreover, the complaint requests both unspecified damages and an injunction preventing ConAgra from mislabeling their food products as Kosher.
The lawsuit underscores how careful manufacturers of any goods, including of course food products, have to be when making claims about their products. An overzealous advertising campaign or misleading claims on a product’s label will almost inevitably lead to some type of a consumer fraud claim being filed against the company. Rather than stand idly by, a company should proactively seek to confirm the veracity of the claims made about their products in order to reduce the risk of being forced to defend itself in a consumer fraud claim. ConAgra may ultimately prevail in the lawsuit commenced over the allegedly false claims that its Hebrew National food products are kosher, but not before it has incurred substantial legal costs in the case.
For more information, please contact any member of the Global Insurance Services practice group.