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The Black Truffle Scandal at Trader Joe's

black truffle oil trader joes outside general counsel

Who doesn't love the black truffle flavor? The rich earthy undertones elevate every dish they touch, well... until you learn that all this goodness is made in a lab by a mad scientist. Which is perfectly acceptable, if disclosed properly.

On August 30, 2018, the Southern District of New York dismissed a class action claim filed by consumers who bought Trader Joe’s “Black Truffle Flavored Extra Virgin Olive Oil.” Consumers complained of the product label containing the words “black truffle” in large black letters, with the words “flavored” and “extra virgin olive oil” in smaller cursive letters underneath. The heavenly flavor turned out to be a petroleum-based synthetic potion that imitates the taste and smell of truffles.

The court didn't care much for the real truffle lovers, reasoning that a ‘reasonable consumer acting reasonably’ is that the product is designed to taste like black truffles.” Brumfield v. Trader Joe’s Co., No. 17 CIV. 3239 (LGS), 2018 WL 4168956, at *2 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 30, 2018). So much for the real truffles...

This case illustrates how important it is to follow the rules of proper consumer disclosures.



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