Tampa Bay, is there enough strawberry in your Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts?

A federal class-action lawsuit seeking $5 million alleges a significant amount of pear and apple in Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts. Kellogg’s says it fully complies with all legal ingredient and labeling requirements.
A class-action lawsuit accuses Kellogg's of misleading consumers about the amount of strawberries in their Pop-Tarts.
A class-action lawsuit accuses Kellogg's of misleading consumers about the amount of strawberries in their Pop-Tarts. [ Times/Sue Carlton ]
Published Nov. 25, 2021

Now here’s a question to chew on over your morning breakfast: Do Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts have enough actual strawberry in them?

No, claims a class-action lawsuit against Kellogg Sales Co. It alleges that less desirable fruits, pear and apple, make up a significant part of the filling in the popular foil-wrapped pantry mainstay along with strawberry — “the most popular berry fruit in the world.”

“Whether a toaster pastry contains only strawberries or merely some strawberries and a significant amount of other, less valued fruit ingredients, is basic front label information consumers rely on when making quick decisions at the grocery store,” the lawsuit says. It requests a jury trial and seeks $5 million.

“While we don’t comment on pending litigation,” a Kellogg representative wrote in an emailed response to the Tampa Bay Times, “we can tell you the ingredients in and labeling of all of our Pop-Tart products fully comply with all legal requirements.”

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Illinois, claims Pop-Tarts’ labeling and marketing are misleading. A food coloring called red 40 “makes the strawberry-pear-apple combination look bright red, like it is only strawberries or has more strawberries than it does,” the lawsuit claims. A similar lawsuit has been filed in New York.

The ingredient list on Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts specifies 2 percent or less of dried strawberries, dried pears and dried apples.

The named plaintiff in the Illinois case, resident Anita Harris, bought Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts “because she expected it would have more of the named fruit ingredient,” the lawsuit says. Harris wanted more than “a strawberry taste,” it says.

NPR has reported that Spencer Sheehan, the New York-based attorney in the Pop-Tart action, has filed hundreds of grocery-related lawsuits. One alleged there was not enough real lime juice in “Hint of Lime” Tostitos.

“I think that companies are not representing things truthfully, which is what they’re required to do by law,” Sheehan told the Tampa Bay Times this week. He said the lawsuit was about “just basic truth in advertising, to tell consumers what’s in the product and not say something intentionally ambiguous.”