Kraft: Fake Guacamole Lawsuit

If Kraft could make peanut butter with no peanuts in it, you can bet they would. The LA TImes is reporting that a California woman is suing Kraft because their “Guacamole” doesn’t have enough avocado.

In fact, Kraft’s guacamole contains less than 2% avocado.

“”We think customers understand that it isn’t made from avocado,” said Claire Regan, Kraft Foods’ vice president of corporate affairs.”

So who is suing? “Brenda Lifsey, the plaintiff, said she made a three-layer dip with Kraft guacamole last year only to discover that it contained almost none of the ingredient she most expected: avocado.
“It just didn’t taste avocadoey,” said Lifsey, who identified herself as a federal employee who lives in Los Angeles. “I looked at the ingredients and found there was almost no avocado in it.”

For the record, by law, peanut butter must contain 90% peanuts. There is no such law for guacamole. Kraft’s “Guacamole” is essentially, “a whipped paste made from partially hydrogenated soybean and coconut oils, corn syrup, whey and food starch. Yellow and blue dyes give it the green color.”

Well, ew. —MEGHANN MARCO

Lawsuit stirs up guacamole labeling controversy [LATimes]

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  1. creamsissle says:

    The best part of the article is where it discusses the woman’s history of lawsuits against corporations for false claims. Kraft’s dip does sound unappetizing after hearing the ingredients, but she wants punitive damages? For serving less-than-authentic guacamole to her friends? Come on…

  2. bluegus32 says:

    This makes me sick. And I’m a lawyer. This woman should be taken out, rubbed in avocado and then fed to wild horses branded with the Kraft logo.

    Well, you know what they say — 99% of lawyers give the rest of us a bad name.

  3. cerulgalactus says:

    Let me get this straight – she’s suing KRAFT (of all people) for not being actual food?!?!?

    She needs a hearty kick in the ass. Or, better, have her case heard in front of a judge who will not only laugh her litigious ass out of court, but make her pay ALL legal fees for wasting everyone’s time.

  4. Charmander says:

    “We think customers understand it isn’t made of avocado”

    Did she really say that!!!??!!!

  5. Chione says:

    I can understand how people could be misled by the fact that the guacamole didn’t have much avocado, but it seems ridiculous that a woman is suing because of it. That part of it is bullshit.

  6. major disaster says:

    Why would you ever buy this product, even if it was made from avocados? Fresh would taste infinitely better than anything from a jar, and it’s really easy to make.

    Also, read the label before you buy, not after. Granted, I have to do this because of an allergy, but it’s generally good practice.

  7. TVarmy says:

    I don’t know about lawsuits, but the FDA should do some sort of regulation. I expect avocados when I eat guacamole, and so does everyone else.

    Also, I’d like a warning label visible on all foods that contain any significant amount of transfat (including below .5g, and all foods that have a partially hydrogenated fat on the ingredients).

  8. Hoss says:

    Guacamole has many (and varied) ingredients, not just avacado. (They’re not selling “avacado-butter”.) It just so happens that Kraft’s recipe for guacamole is 2% avacado.

  9. bluegus32 says:

    TVarmy — you said

    “the FDA should do some sort of regulation. I expect avocados when I eat guacamole, and so does everyone else.”

    No, the FDA shouldn’t. People should be held responsible for their own actions. Anybody with half a brain and half of their remaining taste buds intact knows that Kraft Foods are highly processed. Personally, when I go to the store and buy ANYTHING made by Kraft, I expect there to be little actual food in it.

    If you can’t read the label that says “2% avocado” then you sure as hell should be able to taste the almost total lack of avocado.

    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that one is totally duped as this lady claims. What do you do? Sue? NO! Do what the rest of us do, don’t buy Kraft products and let the damn market control the marketplace.

  10. spanky says:

    CaptainObvious: Punitive damages aren’t the same as pain and suffering. She’s not claiming she was damaged by the fake avocado.

  11. scudsone says:

    i shouldn’t even have to say it, but this woman is an idiot. as Hossofcourse pointed out, unlike “peanut butter”, which has the word PEANUT as the first word of its name, “guacamole” is NOT called “avocado mush”, or “mashed up avocados with some other shit in it for spicy’tude” or even “avocado butter”. nope its called “guacamole”, which i think is like spanish or something. oh snap, maybe its spanish for “more than 2% avocado” and this woman has not only been led astray by the evil Kraft foods empire, but is exposing all of us to the wonders of espn-ole. plus i heard kraft uses nazi skulls on their packages. go lady go!

  12. Hoss says:

    BTW — most american “wasabi” contains 0% wasabi (a plant mostly cultivated in Japan), just horseradish and green food coloring. That may be an easier fight…

  13. major disaster says:

    Well, to be fair, if you believe Wikipedia, guacamole really should have avocado in it based on the name:

    The name guacamole comes from Mexican Spanish via Nahuatl AhuacamOlli, from Ahuacatl (=”avocado”) + mOlli (=”sauce”).

  14. nikoniko says:

    “BTW — most american “wasabi” contains 0% wasabi (a plant mostly cultivated in Japan), just horseradish and green food coloring. That may be an easier fight…”

    Or maybe not. The imitation product is known in Japan as simply wasabi, whereas the genuine article is hon-wasabi, literally “real wasabi”. Since the American products are the exact same thing that the Japanese know as wasabi, I doubt one would get anywhere with that. ^_^

  15. Charmander says:

    Not just Wikipedia, but any online dictionary defines guacamole as mashed avocado or avocado mixed with a few other ingredients. The primary ingredient is avocado.

    I do believe the FDA should have standards for this one. A product that is but 2% avocado is clearly a misreprentation.

  16. kumquat7 says:

    There aren’t enough avocado-based lawsuits in this country. I have a new mission in life.

  17. Jesse in Japan says:

    She bought food from K-Mart, ate it, miraculously survived, and now she’s complaining?

  18. Mary Marsala with Fries says:

    Perhaps the lawsuit is stupid, but is about damn time that somebody did something about the outright lying that goes on on food labels. Sure, people should read the fine print, but the burden to provide a label that describes the contents is on THE COMPANY, not the consumer. Thus, if I’m in a hurry and grab something off the shelf marked “guacamole”, or “cheese” or “chocolate” for that matter, I should be able to be confident that, even if it’s not super-high quality, I’m actually getting what it says on the package. Anything else is just plain shady.

  19. acambras says:

    Yeah, if they have standards for peanut butter and mayonnaise, it’s probably appropriate for there to be a labeling standard for guacamole, which by definition should be mainly avocado. Especially with the growing Hispanic population in the U.S. That said, I don’t know anyone (particularly anyone Latino) who would want to eat guacamole from a jar. If nothing else, you gotta figure that Kraft put all sorts of crap in there to keep the avocado from turning brown — oh, wait, maybe that’s why there’s hardly any damn avocado in there.

    BTW, I did read an article recently (don’t ask for a citation, because I don’t know) that said that the word aguacate (Mexican Spanish word for avocado) is derived from another language’s (Nahuatl, I think) word for “testicle” — I think the earlier aguacates were more of an, um, testicular size. The word “avocado” was coined when farmers started marketing the fruit to Americans. One concern about “aguacate” (apart from the testicular connection) was that they worried many Americans would find the word difficult to pronounce.

  20. moosetoga says:

    If you’re bitching about this being a frivolous lawsuit, you’re missing the point. Unfortunately, the only way to draw attention to BS like this is to sue. Anyone who eats guacamole assumes it’s made from real avocado, just as anyone who drinks beer assumes it’s flavored with real hops (and I’d be damn pissed to find out that my Pabst Blue Ribbon’s deliciousness was artificial in any way). Kraft is betting that people won’t read the label, and they’ve likely got studies that prove that most people don’t.

    If she didn’t sue, none of us would be aware that Kraft guacamole was crap. Now we know. She deserves a golf clap, a gold star, and/or a trophy.

  21. etinterrapax says:

    Kraft Macaroni and Cheese also no longer contains real cheese. Evidently it did until seven or eight years ago, but to preserve its pricing, it went to artificial cheese flavor. The kick is that there are other brands at the same price point or lower–including Wal-Mart’s house brand–that do contain real cheese. I have no special gripe with whether real tastes better than artificial, since I generally make this dish from scratch, but it bothers me that so many foods no longer have food in them. Flavoring and thickeners do not make food. They just make calories. It’s sad that we’re not expected to notice or care about the difference.

  22. kerry says:

    Kraft products are 99% chemistry, about 1% food. That said, I agree that the FDA should regulate this stuff at least to ensure proper labeling. If Kraft can’t put a “made with real cheese” label on their Macaroni & Cheese product, and instead label it as a cheese-flavored product, they should be compelled to label their guacamole as a guacamole-flavored dip. Seems like honest labeling to me, something all manufacturers should be compelled to provide.

  23. Sheik says:

    Does Kraft make any product that is tasty? I bet this stuff cost the same as two fresh avocados too.

    This complete lack of research and common sense is fitting of a federal employee though, i guess.

  24. kerry says:

    Sheik – depends on your definition of “tasty.” I love the hell out of Velveeta Shells ‘n’ Cheese, but can only tolerate a single serving before my stomach starts spewing acid.
    Kraft works very hard to engineer “tasty” foods, I had a chemical engineer friend years ago who worked for them sorting out how to make palatable fat-free cream cheese. Don’t know if he ever succeeded, though.

  25. acambras says:

    The “light” Philly cream cheese is fine, but last time I checked, the “fat free” Philly tasted terrible.

  26. sassenach says:

    People who buy Kraft “guacamole”…[you know the rest]

  27. jacques says:

    As a vegetarian, I’d like to submit my vote for more truth in food labeling. Especially items that in the ingredients have items like “Worcestershire sauce” (which contains anchovies) or “natural flavors” (which like McDonalds fries may include beef flavor for the hell of it). C’mon, most places put things like “may contain peanuts”, how hard is it to put “animal products” as well?
    And yes, eating most meat products will make me sick to my stomach.

  28. Trai_Dep says:

    The shopping experience has become so unpleasant. Brand extensions run amock mean 347 varieties of every damned product out there to sift thru. Then all the promos and sizes to sift thru if you’re being a smart consumer. Then the on-air advertising over speakers. The addition of freaken TVs and their blaring infomercials that are unavoidable. Then the stickers, hanging-off-shelf ads, floor ads, etc.

    The shopping enviro is toxic.

    Add to this busy, busy people running around trying to get the kids fed, and how much time do we realistically expect for consumers to carefully parse out ingredient lables? Not much.

    Long way of saying, Bravo, litigious lady. Damned certain the FDA would do nothing about this. Media do an expose on one of their biggest advertisers? Yeah right.

    What blows about the woman suing is that that was the only way for her to get the message out, and to stop companies like Kraft from hoodwinking the public.

  29. Trai_Dep says:

    oops. labels. :)

  30. the woman’s a nut for suing and contributing to the legal wasteland, kraft is cheap for selling green paste, and the fda fell asleep at the switch for allowing it in the first place.

    the woman’s a crusader who’s looking out for the consumer, kraft is a model company that’s only doing what it can to succeed, and the fda fell asleep at the switch for allowing it in the first place.

    also mentioned in the lat story was that kraft would be relabelling the packaging to make the avocado issue more obvious, and that none of the offending packaging could be found in the stores the paper checked.

    so maybe the woman will give up and sue someone else, maybe kraft is already working to fix the problem, and certainly the fda can sleep for another day.

  31. frisbee_wizard says:

    To Kerry: Ever think that maybe Kraft switched to the less expensive cheese flavor but kept the price the same…thus, achieving even greater profit? Most people wouldn’t notice and this is the “American Way.”

  32. kerry says:

    frisbee_wizard -
    Oh, of course they did. The standard operating procedure for most manufacturers is to cut costs by developing synthetics that can be rapidly and consistently reproduced for far less than their natural counterparts. Hooray for homogeneity!