Kirkland Signature Ice Cream Bars with “Chocolate” Coating New York Class Action

When is chocolate not chocolate? According to the complaint for this class action, a substance is not chocolate if it does not meet the standards of identity provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations. At issue in this case are Kirkland Signature ice cream bars, made by the Costco Wholesale Corporation, which are purportedly dipped in “chocolate” and almonds.

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

The second page of the complaint shows an image of the front of the ice cream bar box, which displays the words, “Chocolate Almond Dipped Vanilla,” an image of the product with an purportedly chocolate coating, and an image of a vanilla blossom, vanilla beans, almonds, and chocolate.

Directly below this, the complaint states, “Chocolate has been a frequent target of ‘food fraud,’ where economically-motivated actors replace the high value chocolate liquor with the lower priced vegetable oils.”

Consumers prefer real chocolate, the complaint states, “because it has a smooth and creamy taste and provides greater satiety compared to the waxy mouthfeel and lesser satiety when cacao butter is replaced or supplemented with vegetable oils.”

In fact, to protect consumers from such “food fraud,” the FDA has standards of identity for sweet chocolate, white chocolate, milk chocolate, buttermilk chocolate, skim milk chocolate, and mixed dairy product chocolates.

The complaint says, “All standardized chocolate products are based on chocolate liquor, dairy ingredients, sweeteners and flavorings.” Chocolate liquor is also called “cocoa mass,” which comes from “finely grinding cacao nibs.” These nibs are the small pieces of crushed cacao, or cocoa beans. Excluded from real chocolate products are “vegetable oils of all kinds.”

But real chocolate is not always easy to work with. The complaint says that “the high melting point of cacao fat relative to ice cream and frozen desserts may cause difficulty when applied to packaged consumer foods…” The complaint alleges that the ice cream bar product is made with a “low-melting-point coating that is not generally known to consumers of frozen desserts by any particular name.”

The ingredient panel for the ice cream bars has two sections, the ice cream and then the “Milk Chocolate Flavored Coating with Almonds.” The ingredients listed for this second item include “Coating … Coconut Oil … Soybean Oil…” According to the complaint, then, the name “Milk Chocolate Flavored Coating with Almonds” is misleading because “it omits the presence of vegetable oils which are a part of the coating.”

These oils, the complaint says, are prohibited in chocolate. It quotes the Code of Federal Regulations as saying, “The name of the food is ‘milk chocolate and vegetable fat coating’…” It may also be called “milk chocolate and ___ oil coating,” with the blank filled in by the name of the vegetable fat used.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Kirkland Signature Ice Cream Bars with “Chocolate” Coating New York Complaint

April 13, 2020

When is chocolate not chocolate? According to the complaint for this class action, a substance is not chocolate if it does not meet the standards of identity provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations. At issue in this case are Kirkland Signature ice cream bars, made by the Costco Wholesale Corporation, which are purportedly dipped in “chocolate” and almonds.

Kirkland Signature Ice Cream Bars with “Chocolate” Coating New York Complaint

Case Event History

Kirkland Signature Ice Cream Bars with “Chocolate” Coating New York Complaint

April 13, 2020

When is chocolate not chocolate? According to the complaint for this class action, a substance is not chocolate if it does not meet the standards of identity provided by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations. At issue in this case are Kirkland Signature ice cream bars, made by the Costco Wholesale Corporation, which are purportedly dipped in “chocolate” and almonds.

Kirkland Signature Ice Cream Bars with “Chocolate” Coating New York Complaint
Tags: "Chocolate" Not Real Chocolate, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels