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Class Claims Filed Over Protein Bar Containing Misleading Nutritional Information

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

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On January 2, 2020, chocolate manufacturer Hershey Co. and its newly acquired subsidiary, One Brands, were served with putative class claims in federal court in the Southern District of California, alleging that the defendants’ had engaged in deceptive marketing, advertising and labeling of its ONE protein bars.In the complaint, named plaintiff Brittany Sebastian alleges that the label for defendants’ ONE protein bars represents that it contains only one gram of sugar, five milligrams of cholesterol and nine grams of dietary fiber, while the product actually contains, on average, 40% more sugar, 96% more cholesterol, and 96% less dietary fiber. Plaintiff argues that reasonable consumers would assume the labeling on the packaging was accurate and had they been aware of the true lack of nutrition of the bars, they would not have purchased the product.

The complaint further argues that the product is misbranded under both the Sherman Law, which incorporates all food labeling regulations promulgated by the FDA under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”), and the FDCA itself. The suit seeks to represent a class made up of all citizens of the United States who, within the relevant statute of limitations period, purchased the product. The suit further seeks to represent a California subclass made up of all citizens of California who purchased the product within the last four years.

The suit brings causes of action for violations of the Unfair and Unlawful Business Acts and Practices, deceptive advertising practices, Consumer Legal Remedies Act, breach of express warranty and breach of a quasi-contract. In addition to monetary damages, the suit is seeking to enjoin the defendants from continuing to label, market, advertise, distribute and sell the product with the current misleading packaging.

The case is: Sebastian v. One Brands LLC et al., Case No.: 3:20-cv-0000, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

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