Consumer Fraud Action Filed Against Snack Maker over Salmonella Outbreak
A California resident has filed a putative class action in federal court against Kellogg Co., alleging that the company misled consumers by claiming its snack products were healthy and nutritious and met “stringent food safety requirements,” when in fact they contained Salmonella-contaminated peanut paste supplied by the Peanut Corporation of America. Benavides v. Kellogg Co., No. 10-02294 (C.D. Cal., filed March 29, 2010). The Peanut Corp. Salmonella outbreak led to a massive recall of food products, including Kellogg’s Austin® and Keebler® branded sandwich crackers and cookies. The complaint alleges that Kellogg hired unqualified private inspectors to audit its suppliers’ manufacturing plants while claiming that its suppliers met Codex Alimentarius Commission standards.
The plaintiff seeks to certify a nationwide class of consumers with alleged monetary injury. He alleges (i) unlawful business acts and practices in violation of California’s Sherman Food, Drug and Cosmetics Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act; (ii) deceptive marketing and advertising; (iii) fraudulent business acts and practices; (iv) violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act; (v) deceit and negligent misrepresentation; (vi) breach of express warranty, the warranty of merchantability and the implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose; and (vii) violation of the Magnuson-Moss Act. He asks the court for declaratory relief; compensatory, statutory and punitive damages; interest; and attorney’s fees and costs.