A Florida consumer has sued cheesemaker Lactalis American Group, Inc., alleging the company misrepresented the authenticity of its President-branded feta cheese. Gallagher v. Lactalis American Group, Inc., No. 22-00614 (W.D.N.Y., filed Aug. 14, 2022).

The plaintiff alleges that Lactalis misrepresented its feta cheese as made in Europe under the President brand, when it is made in the United States. In the complaint, the plaintiff highlighted the company’s feta cheese packaging, which includes language that the brand is “Europe’s Leading Cheese Expert,” a gold olive branch wreath and the word “feta” “stylized in ancient-Greek font.” The plaintiff asserts that the labeling “gives consumers the impression the Product was made in Greece, or at the very least in another European country,”

“Consumers are faced with increasing commercialization of products and seek brands that are genuine – feta cheese from Greece, sake from Japan, and tomatoes from Italy,” the plaintiff asserts in the complaint. “Consumers pay a price premium ‘for what they perceive to be authentic products, particularly those perceived to be authentically associated with a specific place,’ such as Greece for feta cheese.”

For alleged violations of consumer fraud laws in multiple states, the plaintiff is seeking damages, class certification for cheese purchasers in five states and attorneys’ fees.

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