Class Action Filed Against the Producer of Bigs Sunflower Seeds Alleging Malic Acid Fraud

On Sunday, Rebecca Suarez filed a class action complaint in the Northern District of Illinois against Conagra Brands, Inc. alleging consumer fraud and negligent misrepresentation. 

According to the complaint, Conagra Brands is a Delaware corporation that manufactures, packages, labels, markets and sells sunflower seeds under the Bigs brand. Further, the complaint states that Suarez is a Wisconsin citizen who purchased Bigs Chile Limón Flavor sunflower seeds. 

The complaint purports that the Bigs Chile Limón Flavor sunflower seeds packaging and labeling contains a picture of half a fresh lime and a red background matching the color of chili peppers. The plaintiff argues that this labeling indicates to consumers and causes consumers to expect that the Bigs Chile Limón Flavor sunflower seeds gets its chili pepper and lime taste only from chili peppers and limes. 

However, the complaint alleges that although the ingredients included aged red peppers and lime juice solids, it also contains malic acid and natural flavors. The plaintiff argues that the use of malic acid in the product’s ingredients without disclosing that the product contains artificial flavoring is false and misleading to consumers. 

The plaintiff states that she is part of the majority of consumers who avoid artificial flavors based on the belief that foods containing artificial flavors are less healthy and argues that her and similar consumers were misled by Bigs Chile Limón Flavor sunflower seeds labeling. The plaintiff argues that the value of Bigs Chile Limón Flavor sunflower seeds is less than the value represented by the defendant causing consumers to pay higher prices that they would not have in the absence of the defendant’s omissions and misrepresentations. 

Accordingly, the plaintiff filed the present suit alleging violations of Wisconsin and Illinois deceptive trade practice laws, state consumer fraud acts, breach of express warranty, negligent misrepresentation, fraud and unjust enrichment. The plaintiff seeks class certification, declaratory and injunctive relief, monetary, statutory, and punitive damages, attorneys fees and costs. The plaintiff is represented by Sheehan & Associates, P.C.