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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 30, 2006 6:39 PM. The previous post in this blog was Coveting my neighbor's Toyota. The next post in this blog is Government in action. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Only in California

Here's your Screwed-up Lawsuit of the Week.

I got this via Gullyborg, who points his stinky feet at the legal profession over it. Hey, man, lawyers don't sue people -- plaintiffs do.

Comments (15)

Next up: cheese.

She's a dipsh*t.

Now hold on a second.

The manufacturer calls it "Kraft Dips Guacamole", right? And it has less than 2% avocado in it? You guys can call me crazy if you like, but I gotta go with the plaintiff on this. That's messed up. I dunno if y'all have read any recepies for guacamole lately, but I defy you to find one that calls for less than 50% avocado. (The simplest: avocado, lime juice, salt.)

Would it be okay to call something a "hamburger" if the patty had less than 2% beef in it? "Juice" if it had less than 2% fruit? "Butter" if it is really milkfat-flavored margarine? No. Those would be seriously misleading labels. Obviously neither Kraft Foods nor the regulating department of Ag has any shame or interest in this, so what remedy is left to the citizen who doesn't want her fellow citizens lied to?

The courts.

"She is seeking unspecified damages and a Superior Court order barring Kraft from calling its dip guacamole [...]"

An order barring Kraft from using a misleading label is just what is needed here. If her "unspecified damages" are, say, her court costs plus a hundred bucks, I'd say she's on the side of angels. (Of course, since the damages are "unspecified" it's impossible for us to know. Maybe she's trying to get rich, too, and that would be wrong.)

It is of course completely assinine that this ended up in court, but the blame lies with shameless Kraft and the blind regulating bodies, not the plaintiff.

Gotta go with Alan on this one. After all, the word "guacamole" is abbreviated Español for avocado dip or sauce or something like that, right? So just calling something guacamole is tantamount to saying it's made with, y'know, avocados.

I remember (well, vaguely) an Andy Rooney bit on "60 minutes" a long time ago where he did a hysterical ingredient reality check on some "Apple Pie" for sale that contained no apples.

Remember "Spaghetti Meat Sauce" that had hardly any meat (and is now required to be labeled "Meat Flavored"?) Anne and I recently had some frozen shrimp concoction that showed a heaping mound of shrimp on a bed of pasta in the picture...out of the box, some vague pieces of "shrimp meat" were discernible, but not so much.

I'm with Alan and "greenink"...consumers shouldn't have to read the teeny-tiny label ingredients where, between all the additives and other chemical concoctions, they might learn what percentage of avocado is in their guacamole.

Having grown up in the Fifties, I grew up with "American Cheese," "Tang," "Instant Coffee," "Lipton Tea," ad it any wonder we boomers came late to realizing there's such a thing as Real Food? Sue on, I say, but I agree with Alan: to protect the public good rather than for personal profit. Otherwise it's a little squirrley to be "shocked, shocked" that there's food adulteration going on.

Sorry, I agree with gullyborg on this. It's the lawyers with nothing but dollars signs in their eyes that encourage this kind of crap.

You want avacado in your guacomole? Don't be a lazy a**, make it yourself.

As for me, I'm going to call my lawyer and sue because a hamburger contains no ham.....'ll be better then the lottery.

"It's the lawyers with nothing but dollars signs in their eyes that encourage this kind of crap."

But we have no idea if that's the case. The remedy she's seeking is "stop lying" plus "unspecified damages".

If she's seeking "unspecified damages" that amount to some huge cash reward, then I'm right there with ya. She'd be just as wrong as Kraft is here. But we don't know if that's what's going on here.

Me, I'm focused on the "stop lying" part. Heck, if they even called it "... guacamole flavor" it would be the sort of reasonable, customary lie that we've come to expect from prepackaged food producers. Sure the buyer should read the ingredients to see how much sour cream or high fructose corn syrup or gratuitous trans fats are in it. But if someone makes something that doesn't have avocado as the first ingredient and they call it "guacamole", they should expect to be called a liar. 'Cause, you know, they're lying.

Come now professor.
"[L]awyers don't sue people -- plaintiffs do."
No way. This has "fishing for a plaintiff" written all over it. If she's seeking class action status, then that means some *law firm* is seeking class action status. Because what if they win? They'll get a "we're sorry" from Kraft, and the customers will get a bunch of 50-cents off coupons. And the law firm? Not coupons, fer sure.

So I suppose you would also be happy suing over the lack of whipped cream in Cool Whip?

COME ON! Take some personal responsibility. Read labels. The government already requires foods to be labeled with ingredients in order of content. Consumers know this and are capable of reading the label. As this woman admits, SHE READ THE LABEL and was therefore able to determine what was in it. She bought the product anyway.

I suppose if she had bought a cherry soda, then read the label and found out it had no caffeine, and wanted to sue because a person would assume a soda is caffeinated, you'd be ok with that?

Where do we draw the line at stupidity? Or should government just take over everything and hand out pre-inspected, pre-sanitized, pre-packaged, idiot-approved foodstuffs with all consumer responsibility removed?

Caveat emptor.

And while it is 100& correct that plaintiffs sue, not attorneys, the fact remains that attorneys make it possible for idiots like this to go to court. Any reasonable attorney should have advised her to write a concerned letter and forget litigation.

And don't get me started on "baby food." Pictures of tasty little babies on the label, "baby" in the product name, and not one ounce of delicious infant in there! Class action, anyone?

Girl Scout cookies aren't made with (or by) real Girl Scouts, either. But we all know that, and they don't claim to be. Cool Whip hasn't got whipped cream in it, but (so far as I know, I never buy the stuff) it doesn't claim to, either. This stuff claims to be guacamole, which - as others have noted - is literally "avocado sauce".

You prefer that your "gasoline" has more than 2% of volatile hydrocarbons in it, right? Wouldn't you be the least annoyed to find out that you just paid $2.60 a gallon for something called gasoline that was really 60% water?

Actually, it is not guacamole. It is a guacamole dip. And I am unaware of any FDA definition of "guacamole dip" (or guacamole, for that matter) that says it has to have avocado in it. What it means in Spanish is irrelevant, because it isn't being marketed as an ethnic food product to Spanish speakers.

And you still haven't addressed the fact that the woman bought the stuff even though by her own admission she is capable of reading the label and seeing the ingredients.

Furthermore, according to the article, Kraft is already agreeing to relabel the product to avoid confusion. Yet this woman is seeking a class action lawsuit. So simply changing the label is not her real intent. This is a ridiculous attempt at taking money away from a deep-pockets corporation over an utterly baseless claim.

"Kraft is already agreeing to relabel the product [...] So simply changing the label is not her real intent."

Is the relabeling in response to the lawsuit? If so, then great. System worked and she's done. Time to drop the suit.

And if you're correct that she's actually seeking to get a big paycheck, instead of just a change in labeling, then I agree that it's reprehensible of her to continue the suit. At the moment, there seems to me to be insufficient data to judge her intent, although maybe I'm underestimating the importance of "class action" in this. (IANAL, as they say.)

It still ain't guacamole, though. Kraft shoulda known better.

It's like Velveeta. They'll call it "guacamole food."

Like I mentioned, they already call it "dip." Like "onion dip" you make by mixing a tub of sour cream or mayonnaise with a package of instant soup mix. We'd better start suing everyone who every made pre-game snacks on football day...

A google search on this topic reveals that the lawsuit is growing and now threatens virtually every manufacturer of a guacamole-type product. Interestingly, there are some manufacturers that, unlike Kraft, actually are "guilty" of going out of their way to make it look like you are getting avocado, such as having pictures of avocado on the label (the Kraft product does not).

But is a class action lawsuit the answer? How about just not buying crap?


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