Prairie Farms “Vanilla Bean” Ice Cream WI, IL, MI, MN, IA Class Action

Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. makes ice creams purported to be “vanilla” in flavor under the Prairie Farms Small Batch brand, including a Premium Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that the ice cream’s “vanilla” labeling is false and misleading, because “the Product is not flavored mainly from vanilla beans and as a result[] does not taste like vanilla.”

The class for this action is all those who live in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa who bought the product during the applicable statutes of limitations.

The second page of the complaint shows an image of the ice cream container. Prominently at the top center of the front label are the words “Premium Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.” Lower on the package are the words “Natural Ingredients.” The images include a cow, three vanilla bean pods, and a scoop of ice cream in a cone with specks of what seems to be vanilla bean seeds.

The complaint says that the popularity of vanilla in the 1800s “led to the isolation of the most predominant flavor component, vanillin.” The complaint alleges that the “availability of low-cost vanillin resulted in foods purporting to contain vanilla, which either contained no vanilla or a trace or de minimis amount, boosted by synthetic vanillin.” Such foods “lack the richness and layered taste provided [by] vanilla beans.”

The US created regulations for vanilla which have been in force for more than fifty years. The complaint claims, “Where a food was labeled as ‘vanilla’ without qualification, consumers understood that the flavoring was only from the ingredient of vanilla beans.” However, according to the complaint, recent years have seen “food fraud” in respect to vanilla foods and drinks.”

The ingredient panel for the ice cream at issue does not show any vanilla. It does show the words “Natural Flavor,” but the complaint claims that this does not refer to real vanilla.

A Yahoo Food article quotes Jack Bishop, the head of America’s Test Kitchen, as saying that if a package doesn’t claim vanilla extract, then consumers should skip it, because the vanilla flavor is not real vanilla but “actually imitation extract made from wood pulp.”

The complaint asserts, “The ‘Natural Flavor’ used in the Prairie Farms Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is a combination of vanilla and artificial vanilla flavor” and should be labeled as having artificial flavor. The complaint says that, according to various groups concerned with flavor, including the Food and Drug Administration, “if an ice cream labeled as ‘vanilla’ has flavor from non-vanilla sources, that is considered an artificial flavor, which must be disclosed to consumers.”

How does the complaint know what the ice cream contains? It claims, “Analysis of the Product reveals an abnormal excess of vanillin relative to the amount and presence of the key odor-active compounds in authentic vanilla, which is a strong indicator it contains vanillin from non-vanilla sources.” It therefore alleges that the ice cream should be labeled as being artificially flavored.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Prairie Farms “Vanilla Bean” Ice Cream WI, IL, MI, MN, IA Complaint

November 16, 2020

Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. makes ice creams purported to be “vanilla” in flavor under the Prairie Farms Small Batch brand, including a Premium Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that the ice cream’s “vanilla” labeling is false and misleading, because “the Product is not flavored mainly from vanilla beans and as a result[] does not taste like vanilla.”

Prairie Farms “Vanilla Bean” Ice Cream WI, IL, MI, MN, IA Complaint

Case Event History

Prairie Farms “Vanilla Bean” Ice Cream WI, IL, MI, MN, IA Complaint

November 16, 2020

Prairie Farms Dairy, Inc. makes ice creams purported to be “vanilla” in flavor under the Prairie Farms Small Batch brand, including a Premium Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. However, the complaint for this class action alleges that the ice cream’s “vanilla” labeling is false and misleading, because “the Product is not flavored mainly from vanilla beans and as a result[] does not taste like vanilla.”

Prairie Farms “Vanilla Bean” Ice Cream WI, IL, MI, MN, IA Complaint
Tags: Contains Too Little of Featured Ingredients, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels