Diamond Foods sued for mislabeling

Posted on: February 17th, 2014 by Steve Larson

Diamond Foods was hit with a proposed class action in California federal court alleging it falsely touts its Kettle Brand tortilla chips as all natural even though they’re made using artificial ingredients.

Plaintiff Dominika Surzyn bought at least five varieties of Diamond Food’s Kettle Brand Tias tortilla chips, all of which she claims contain synthetic ingredients, including maltodextrin and dextrose, according to the complaint. Without Diamond Foods’ false representation that the products were all natural, she would not have paid the higher price for the products, she says.

Diamond Foods advertises that the five types of tortilla chips are “all natural” on the front packaging of the products, according to the suit.

“Defendant’s ‘all natural’ statement prominently displayed on the front of the box for the products’ and on the front of each individual packaging for the products is untrue, misleading and likely to deceive reasonable consumers, such as plaintiff and members of the class, because the products are not ‘all natural,’” the suit said.

Diamond Foods engaged in the deceptive marketing campaign in order to charge a premium for the products and to take market share away from other similar products. The misleading representations are also likely to deceive other consumers, according to the complaint.

Surzyn also claims that plaintiffs were deceived into ingesting a substance that was artificial and of lower quality than what Diamond Foods had promised.

The suit is brought on behalf of a proposed class of all consumers who have purchased Diamond Foods’ tortilla chips in California from January 9, 2010, through the present. It seeks damages equal to the aggregate purchase price paid for the products.

The complaint alleges that the five products falsely touted as all natural include the nacho cheddar, zesty ranch, salsa picante, sweet Baja barbeque and chili con queso tortilla chips. The products are sold in grocery stores, food chains and drugstores, among other distributors.