A plaintiff has filed a putative class action alleging that Mondelez Global’s Oreos—marketed as “always made with real cocoa”—are misleadingly marketed because they contain cocoa processed with alkali. Harris v. Mondelez Global LLC, No. 19-2249 (E.D.N.Y., filed April 17, 2019). The complaint describes the alkali processing method, which “reduces the acidity of cocoa powder,” “detracting from the ‘real cocoa’ taste.” The plaintiff asserts that the phrase “‘always made with real cocoa’ is intended to differentiate the cocoa in the Products from other cocoa ingredients bearing the standard cocoa designation, i.e., ‘cocoa’ or ‘cocoa processed with alkali,’ and implies the cocoa present in the Products is nutritionally and organoleptically superior.” Further, “[n]o reasonable consumer would expect the cocoa in the Products to have been made with and contain alkalis because ‘real,’ in modifying the word ‘cocoa,’ represents the cocoa powder is included in its most simplified form.” The plaintiff seeks class certification, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, damages, costs and attorney’s fees for allegations of negligent misrepresentation, breach of warranties, fraud and unjust enrichment.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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