Dietz & Watson “Smoked” Gouda Cheese New York Class Action

Dietz & Watson, Inc. offers deli meats and cheeses. Among its products are wedges of Gouda cheese labeled “Smoked Gouda.” The complaint alleges that the labeling is misleading and false, because the cheese wedges have in fact not been smoked but get their smoke flavor from a smoke-flavored additive. The complaint alleges violations of consumer protection laws and negligent misrepresentation, breaches of warranty, and fraud, among other things.

The class for this action is all those live in New York and who bought the product during the applicable statutes of limitations.

An image of the cheese wedge occupies page 2 of the complaint. The product label representations include “Artisan Cheese” and “Smoked Gouda.”

The complaint says that flavor is “one of the most important and expensive ingredients in a food.” It refers to four different surveys or reports as saying that majorities of consumers prefer natural flavor and/or are avoiding artificial flavors. “Consumers prefer foods which obtain their flavor through the presence of a characterizing food ingredient or a process that provides that flavor, i.e., [from] strawberries in a strawberry shortcake or from being smoked in a smokehouse.”

Smoking is a means of food preparation and preservation that involves cooking the food over a fire made with wood chips. Chips from different kinds of wood provide different kinds of flavor.

About the smoked gouda product, the complaint alleges, “Since the Product designates its characterizing flavor as ‘smoke[d]’ without any qualifying terms—flavor, flavored, natural smoke flavor, artificial smoke flavored—consumers get the impression that its smoke taste [comes] from being smoked.”

The complaint claims that consumers have no reason to double check the source of the “smoked” flavor on the label: They would not be instinctively distrustful or skeptical of the implication of the smoking process, and smoked gouda is not such a rare delicacy that they would immediately check the source of the smoke taste.

Unfortunately, the ingredient panel, reproduced in the complaint, shows the substance Natural Smoke Flavoring. The complaint therefore alleges, “[Dietz & Watson’s] branding and packaging of the Product is designed to—and does—deceive, mislead, and defraud plaintiffs and consumers.”

“As a result of the false and misleading labeling,” the complaint claims, “the Product is [] sold at a premium price … compared to other similar products represented in a non-misleading way.” The complaint contends that buyers would not pay as much for the product “absent [Dietz & Watson’s] false and misleading statements and omissions.”

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Dietz & Watson “Smoked” Gouda Cheese New York Complaint

August 17, 2020

Dietz & Watson, Inc. offers deli meats and cheeses. Among its products are wedges of Gouda cheese labeled “Smoked Gouda.” The complaint alleges that the labeling is misleading and false, because the cheese wedges have in fact not been smoked but get their smoke flavor from a smoke-flavored additive. The complaint alleges violations of consumer protection laws and negligent misrepresentation, breaches of warranty, and fraud, among other things.

Dietz & Watson “Smoked” Gouda Cheese New York Complaint

Case Event History

Dietz & Watson “Smoked” Gouda Cheese New York Complaint

August 17, 2020

Dietz & Watson, Inc. offers deli meats and cheeses. Among its products are wedges of Gouda cheese labeled “Smoked Gouda.” The complaint alleges that the labeling is misleading and false, because the cheese wedges have in fact not been smoked but get their smoke flavor from a smoke-flavored additive. The complaint alleges violations of consumer protection laws and negligent misrepresentation, breaches of warranty, and fraud, among other things.

Dietz & Watson “Smoked” Gouda Cheese New York Complaint
Tags: "Smoked" Food Is Only Smoke-Flavored, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels