Most cheese lovers can easily spot an imitation—and especially for families, it's important to know what we're really eating. That's just one of several reasons a Wisconsin woman has taken a major food giant to court, calling them out for deceiving consumers with their ingredients for years.
Even though research has shown that processed foods are a poor part of many children's diets—possibly even damaging their bones and stunting their growth—millions of families stock up on Bagel Bites Pizza Snacks. And while this dearth of nutrition is a growing concern to a lot of parents, this week a Wisconsin woman is calling out the processing process. She's filed a lawsuit against Kraft Heinz, the company that owns Bagel Bites, for "cheese fraud," according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. She argues that while Bagel Bites packaging is stamped with the Real Dairy seal and displays phrasing like no artificial flavors, Kosher dairy, and real mozzarella, their cheese and sauce contain nothing real, but a lot of the fake stuff.
The case states that "Reasonable consumers understand that pizza refers to a combination of pizza, sauce, and wheat crust," and "in the context of a 'pizza snack' where crust is replaced with a bagel, consumers still expect the other two elements—mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce." The argument also calls out Bagel Bites ingredients like clotting enzymes and coloring, and says that the "mozzarella" the brand touts is not real mozzarella at all.
Attorneys for Kraft Heinz have responded, saying the dairy product that tops Bagel Bites is a "cheese blend" that does contain an amount of real mozzarella… but the plaintiff's case asserts that "No 'blend' of cheeses, especially 'REAL' mozzarella cheese, contains added starch."
It will interesting to see how this Bagel Bites lawsuit melts down—especially because as part of her argument, the plaintiff says "multicultural agribusinesses" such as Kraft Heinz hurt Wisconsin dairy farmers, a $43 billion industry that "produces over a quarter of all cheeses in the United States." In a cheese-loving state like Wisconsin, those could be fightin' words.
With the push for a healthier planet, maybe more manufacturers will take note of their ingredients, and parents will pay more attention to what's really in our families' food. Start by catching up on the two major mac&cheese brands that have been called out in lawsuits for alleged toxins.