Microwaveable cups of Velveeta mac and cheese take longer to make than the outer box says — “ready in 3 1/2 minutes” — making the packaging fraudulent and misleading, a Hialeah woman’s federal class action civil lawsuit claims.
The amount of damages sought by Amanda Ramirez’s lawsuit against Kraft Heinz: over $5 million.
That’s not just for her, but for Velveeta microwave buyers in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Utah, New Mexico, Alaska, Iowa, Tennessee and Virginia. The lawsuit was filed by West Palm Beach attorney William Wright and New York attorney Spencer Sheehan.
Kraft Heinz hasn’t responded yet to a request for comment from the Miami Herald.
Ramirez’s lawsuit, filed in Miami federal court, says she “looks to bold statements of value when quickly selecting groceries” at places such as the Publix at 3339 W. 80th St. in Hialeah. She says bought the box of eight Velveeta microwave cups partially based on the box’s prominent preparation time claim.
But according to the directions, which the lawsuit says are on the back of the packaging for the shells and cheese, the time frame refers only to time in the microwave. It doesn’t include the time in removing the lid, adding the water, stirring in the water, then stirring in the cheese sauce.
This, the lawsuit claims, puts Kraft Heinz in violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act; the Consumer Fraud Acts of the States; federal law regarding false and misleading advertising; fraud; negligent misrepresentation; and unjust enrichment.
Kraft Heinz “sold more of the product and at higher prices than it would have in the absence of this misconduct, resulting in additional profits at the expense of consumers,” the lawsuit says. “As a result of the false and misleading representations, the product is sold at a premium price, approximately no less than $10.99 for eight 2.39-ounce cups, excluding tax and sales, higher than similar products, represented in a non-misleading way, and higher than it would be sold for absent the misleading representations and omissions.”