On Saturday, Peter Hoffman filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York against Kraft Heinz Foods Company for misleadingly labeling their MiO liquid water enhancer products as having predominantly “natural flavoring.”
Kraft Heinz produces MiO products, which are liquid water enhancers that add flavor to water. The products in question are Mango Peach flavored and the labeling claims “natural flavor with other natural flavor.” The plaintiffs argued that this makes the product more appealing to consumers who prefer natural flavoring over artificial flavors.
The complaint cited federal and state regulations that mandate all sources of flavor to be disclosed on the packaging, where “natural” flavors come from spices, fruits, vegetables or other plant material; otherwise, the packaging must clearly state that the flavoring is artificial.
According to the complaint, the top four items listed on the ingredients label are “water, malic acid, citric acid, contains less than 2% of natural flavor.” The complaint explained that there are types of malic acid, L-malic acid, D-malic acid, and DL-malic acid; L-malic acid is natural and the other two are not. The plaintiffs claimed that they used a chemistry kit to determine that the products contain DL-malic acid. This is misleading labeling under law, the plaintiffs say, as the defendants are legally required to write “artificially flavored” on all of the product’s labels.
The plaintiff alleged that he has lost trust in MiO for their deceptive practices and that he “would not have purchased the Product if he knew the representations and omissions were false and misleading or would have paid less for it.” Thus, he is suing on the counts of a violation of the consumer protection statute of the New York General Business Law Sections 349 & 350, violations of state consumer fraud acts, breach of contract, breach of implied and express warranties, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and unjust enrichment.
The plaintiffs are seeking class certification, injunctive relief enjoining the defendants to comply with the law, restitution, disgorgement, monetary, statutory and punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs, and other relief.