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Class-Action Lawsuit Alleges that Sour Cream Flavor in Ruffles Potato Chips’ is Artificially Derived

On September 11, 2020, Sheehan & Associates, P.C., filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of a proposed class of New York consumers against Frito-Lay, Inc., alleging that the company had failed to disclose that their “cheddar & sour cream flavored” Ruffles (potato chips) were artificially flavored.

The complaint alleges that diacetyl (2,3 di-butanone) produced in the fermentation of sour cream is primarily responsible for sour cream’s desirable flavor and aroma. The complaint further alleges that the production of high levels of diacetyl requires high levels of citrate, that such levels are found only in cream derived from cows on a pasture diet, and that producers frequently supplement inadequate levels of diacetyl in sour cream derived from feedlot cattle with artificial diacetyl flavor. Further, the complaint alleges that Frito has done exactly that to produce the sour cream flavor of the Ruffles, and, rather than disclose that their product was “Artificially Flavored” as required by 21 CFR 101.22, merely disclosed “Artificial Flavors” on the ingredient list.

While this is the first flavor case that we have seen that deals with the alleged addition of artificial diacetyl, flavoring litigation has become a common subject of litigation, and we will continue to monitor and report on developments in this area.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 273
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Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...

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