Pop Tort: A Disgruntled Consumer Is Suing Pop-Tarts Over a Lack of Strawberry Filling

The delicious defendant.
The delicious defendant. / bhofack2/iStock via Getty Images

Ever since being introduced nationally in 1964, Kellogg’s fruit-flavored Pop-Tarts have been the breakfast of choice for people who want a pastry popping out of their toaster before they head to work or school.

But not everyone holds this piping-hot concoction in high regard. As Food & Wine reports, a woman is suing Kellogg’s for what she says is a misrepresentation of the amount of actual strawberry in the Tarts.

The lawsuit [PDF], which was filed in New York, alleges that Kellogg’s is misrepresenting the volume of fruit filling in their Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts. According to plaintiff Elizabeth Russett, the Tarts list “dried strawberries” as making up just “2 percent or less” of the ingredients in the pastry, along with dried pears and dried apples.

She goes on to allege that Kellogg’s is misleading consumers by using red food dye (red 40) to make it seem as though the pears and apples contained in the product are part of the strawberry component. Russett also argues that Kellogg’s is exploiting health-conscious consumers who consider strawberries a healthy dietary choice, and calling it Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts “is false, deceptive, and misleading, because it contains mostly non-strawberry fruit ingredients.” Her filing suggests a more accurate description would be “Whole Grain Frosted Strawberry Toaster Pastries – 80% Non-Strawberry, 20% Strawberry.”

The lawsuit points out that similar toaster pastry products from Walmart and Dollar Tree use “naturally and artificially flavored” language on their packaging, which Russett deems more accurate. The complaint goes on for 19 pages.

Russett’s is a class action lawsuit, which would open it up to include other consumers who feel slighted by the perceived—and as-yet-unproven—allegation of artificially inflated strawberry content. It’s joined by a similar claim filed in August by Anita Harris of Illinois [PDF]. Both are represented by the same law firm.

Kellogg’s currently has approximately 28 flavors of Pop-Tarts available, though the suits specify the strawberry version as the offender.

This isn’t the first time Kellogg’s has come under fire for Pop-Tarts. In 1995, the company settled with a consumer’s insurance company after he alleged a Pop-Tart caught fire in his toaster and caused $3000 in damages to his Springfield, Ohio, home. Other pastry-related fires have been reported.

Whatever the outcome, this might be some satisfying filler material for Jerry Seinfeld’s upcoming Netflix project, Unfrosted, about the origins of the Pop-Tart.

[h/t Food & Wine]