One Florida woman have taken issue with Velveeta, as their microwavable macaroni and cheese promises to be ready in 3.5 minutes, while they claim that this is actually misleading. The woman and her legal team have filed a class-action lawsuit against Kraft Heinz.
Lead plaintiff Amanda Ramirez has shared that Velveeta’s Shells & Cheese take longer than 3.5 minutes, since the microwaving is just one step out of four in order to prepare the cheesy pasta. The other steps, as outlined by Ramirez and her team, include opening the lid and removing the cheese sauce pouch, adding the hot water, and stirring the cheese in.
The lawsuit reads: “The label does not state the Product takes ‘3½ minutes to cook in the microwave,’ which would have been true. To provide consumers with a Product that is actually ‘ready in 3½ minutes,’ the Product would need to be cooked in the microwave for less than 3-and-a-half minutes, so that all the preparation steps could be completed in the 3-and-a-half minutes time frame.”
The filing also said that Ramirez “believed and expected” the product would take a total of 3.5 minutes to be ready, since the graphic reading “Ready in 3 1/2 minutes” on the package says so. However, it should be noted that the lawsuit does not say how much time the other steps add to the whole process. However, Ramirez alleges that “had she known the truth,” she may not have purchased this product.
Ramirez, as well as any other plaintiffs, are seeking a minimum of $5 million in unitive damages from Kraft Heinz, saying that there was alleged “false and misleading representation.”
A Krafts Heinz spokesperson told USA Today: “We are aware of this frivolous lawsuit and will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint.”
The lawsuit was filed on November 18th, 2022 in U.S. District Court in Miami. One of the plaintiffs’ attorneys is Spencer Sheehan of Sheehan & Associates law firm. As reported by NPR, Sheehan has previously filed more than 400 similar lawsuits that allege certain food products or packaging have misled consumers. More than 100 of these involved separate lawsuits regarding whether products contained real vanilla or not.
While speaking with CBC, Sheehan said: “[F]rankly, these types of cases are the only mechanism by which an individual person or consumers in general are able to say to a company, ‘Hey, this isn’t right. You need to fix this. You need to disclose that this product is flavored or this product doesn’t really have butter or that the vanilla is not real vanilla.’ Those may seem like small things. I’ll admit we’re not curing cancer. But it is equally important to any other cause of action that a court may address.”
A judge has previously granted Kraft Heinz’s motion to dismiss one of Sheehan’s lawsuits, which alleged that Bagel Bites, also belonging to the company, do not contain tomato sauce or three types of cheese.