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General Mills fights lawsuit over empty space in Annie's Frosted Oat Flakes

By Takesha Thomas | Dec 19, 2018

SAN DIEGO (Legal Newsline) – General Mills has filed a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed in a California court over the amount of cereal in the box of one of its brands.

On Nov. 21, General Mills filed motions to strike and dismiss in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California over a class action complaint filed by Charlene M. Jackson alleging that Annie's Frosted Oat Flakes contain less than the amount expected in a box. 

Annie’s Frosted Oat Flakes is a General Mills breakfast cereal sold in stores and online. According to the filing, the cereal is packaged in a cardboard box that contains a sealed plastic bag inside.

"Each box contains a disclosure of the cereal’s net weight as required by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations as well as detailed information about the number of servings in each box, the weight and volume of each serving, and the nutritional facts per serving," the motion to dismiss states.

Jackson filed a complaint in October alleging that she purchased Annie’s Frosted Oat Flakes and was “surprised when she opened the item and saw that the container had more than 50 percent empty space, or slack fill,” her complaint states.

This empty space, she claims, violated the California Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. 

Jackson contends that she relied on the package information when she purchased it and would not have bought the product had she known it contained slack-fill, adding that she overpaid for a product that contained less than she expected.

However, General Mills argues that Jackson cannot assert claims against any product that she did not purchase. General Mills also argued that "reasonable consumers know that cereal products contain some slack-fill," adding that Annie’s cereal boxes feature three disclosures of the quantity of the cereal inside the box.

Moreover, General Mills contends that Jackson fails to provide details on when and how many products she purchased, or "how or why she was misled into believing she would get more cereal than the amount specified on the box, or how she was injured," the motion to dismiss states.

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