Joe Gratz
"Courtroom One Gavel"

Federal Courts Dismiss Lawsuits Against Subway (Tuna) and Kraft Heinz (Mac Prep Time)

July 28, 2023
Plaintiffs in separate cases had tried to challenge Subway for ingredients in its tuna and Kraft Heinz for its microwave instructions on its Velveeta mac and cheese cups.

In two separate U.S. district courts this week, federal judges dismissed lawsuits brought against Subway and Kraft Heinz by consumers, determining that the cases would not continue.

Subway had been sued by a California woman who claimed that the sandwich restaurant chain’s tuna products contain ingredients other than tuna. Kraft Heinz, on the other hand, faced a lawsuit brought in Florida by a woman who charged that the packaging instructions that claimed it only took 3.5 minutes to make a cup of Velveeta mac and cheese was misleading.

In the Subway case, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar had allowed the lawsuit to proceed last July, but had rejected that tuna was the only acceptable ingredient, calling it a “fact of life” that other ingredients, such as mayonnaise, were acceptable, according to reports. Subway has requested that the lawyers bringing the case be sanctioned for bringing a frivolous lawsuit to court, and the judge will make a decision on that in the future.

The case against Kraft Heinz was brought by a Florida woman who claimed that the preparation instructions on the packaging misled her into thinking her mac and cheese would be ready in 3.5 minutes, but that time did not account for time to open the lid, add water and stir in the cheese product. U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom ruled that the plaintiff lacked standing to pursue the proposed $5 million class action or force Kraft Heinz to change its packaging. In addition, the judge said the plaintiff “never alleged that she could not eat nor had even tried to cook the Velveeta Shells & Cheese she bought, or that it was ‘so flawed as to be rendered useless,’” according to reports.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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