Heard about 'slack fill'? It's why the makers of Raisinets are getting sued

The lawsuit says consumers are tricked into thinking the box is full
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Sour grapes? No, we're past that. This complaint has to do with raisins.

Ones that were covered with chocolate by the candymaker Nestlé, and then poured into a box that was sold to a California woman.

What's the problem? Well, the box was 40 percent empty. Not by mistake. That's how Nestlé sells Raisinets – in a box that's much larger than needed to hold the candy.

The lawsuit Sandy Hofer and her lawyers filed in a federal court in California Tuesday argues consumers – who can't see into the box – are tricked into thinking it's nearly full. The suit calls this deceptive packaging and says it amounts to illegal false advertising and consumer fraud.

What's more, this lawsuit might eventually involve you. If you ever buy Raisinets, that is. Hofer's attorneys have asked the court to certify the case as a class action on behalf of all the Raisinets consumers they say have been deceived by Nestlé.

Slack-fill

A spokeswoman for Nestlé tells the Wall Street Journal the lawsuit has no merit, saying all the company's products comply with government regulations and they give consumers the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions.

But Nestlé might want to at least prepare a defense against a "slack-fill" charge. That's an official Food and Drug Administration term for the empty space in a container you can't see into.

The Journal looked it up in the FDA's regulations, which say there are half a dozen legitimate reasons for slack-fill – like "protection of the contents" or "unavoidable product settling." But if you don't have one of those approved good reasons, your slack-filled package is considered misleading.

The case of the changing pepper tins

This whole saga reminds us of the lawsuit Winona-based Watkins filed against America's biggest seller of pepper, McCormick.

McCormick's pepper comes in metal tins you can't see into. When they reduced the amount of pepper in a tin from 2 ounces to 1.5, they changed the label but continued to use the same size of tin. That led their rivals at Watkins to file a false advertising suit, which is still pending.

And things are looking up for Watkins in that case. The Consumerist notes McCormick asked a judge to toss out the lawsuit, arguing that packaging is not advertising. But in October the judge completely rejected that argument, writing that it "defies common sense and the law."

Stay tuned, denizens of Raisinets City.

Next Up

124906958_401361401236047_6293747214536025849_o

Pandemic pushes need for cybersecurity and I.T. professionals to forefront

University of Wisconsin-Superior is helping meet demand with online master’s programs

Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 5.01.58 PM

Body found floating in Minnesota River in Shakopee

Efforts to identify the deceased are underway.

Hennepin County Government Center

Judge finds suspect guilty in 1991 murder of young Minneapolis woman

A 58-year-old man from South St. Paul, who was 29 at the time, has been found guilty of stabbing a 20-year-old woman

northfield community education center

Northfield school fires employee who allegedly gave melatonin to infant

It's against district policies to give a child anything without a parents' permission.

state hockey tournament, mshsl

MSHSL approves 3 calendars to start winter sports as soon as Dec. 21

The start date will depend on whether the state shutdown is lifted.

hydrocodon-DEA

Drug overdose deaths up 31% in the first half of 2020

Overdose deaths started to increase sharply in March, which coincides with the state-ordered lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic.

los ocampos

Video: Vehicle crashes into St. Paul restaurant

The fire department is on scene addressing a gas leak.

covid-19, coronavirus

Latest county infection rates are sky-high throughout Minnesota

Kandiyohi County is one of the hardest hit counties in the state.

Jenna Fish

Family's warning after teen's tragic death from CO poisoning at Thanksgiving

A 17-year-old girl from Delano died after Thanksgiving due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Plainview

More than $12K donated to MN gym owner who refused to close

The small business is located in town in Wabasha County.

radio station, microphone

MPR, The Current launch new weekly segment called 'The Warming House'

The program will feature feel-good entertainment amid the pandemic.

Related

An airbag maker is paying $1 billion after admitting fraud

Most of the money will pay back car companies for the cost of the biggest recall in automotive history.

Ever heard of the company that employs about one-third of a MN town?

Expanding company loves their northwestern MN workers

A MN company's suing to get Parrot drones off the shelves at Target, Best Buy

Here's why a MN company wants retailers to stop selling them.

CenturyLink needs to be clearer about how much its internet will cost, judge orders

The judge's ruling comes after Minnesota's AG sued CenturyLink, accusing it of deceptively charging customers.

State lawsuit: Lenders are scamming veterans, seniors out of their pensions

State says 2 companies are bilking seniors with illegal loans

MN company accused of giving doctors luxury vacations will pay $12M

Feds say the MN company took doctors on luxury vacations

This Minnesota family's hoverboard started on fire – now they're suing

A Minnesota family blames the company that sold them a hoverboard for the house fire that killed their four dogs.