Barilla Customers Sue! “Italy’s #1 Brand of Pasta” made in… Iowa!?
Ames, actually. No joke!
According to a recent lawsuit filing; some customers are none too happy that Barilla may be a bit more Iowa-Italian, or even a New Yorker, rather than authentic Italian made.
California residents, Matthew Sinatro and Jessica Prost, have come forward to sue Barilla over the company's claim that its noodles are made in Italy. Barilla’s company logo show Italian flag colors and the boxes are touted with the slogan; "Italy's #1 Brand of Pasta." Barilla is actually made in New York and… Ames, IA.
The plaintiffs claim that Barilla is falsely labeling some of its products. The Illinois-based company markets their products as "Italy's #1 Brand of Pasta" despite producing most of the pasta in Iowa and New York using locally sourced ingredients. The complaint accuses Barilla of false advertising, unjust enrichment, and other violations.
As of now, a US Magistrate Judge ruled on Monday (10/17) that the case has enough merit to continue. Plaintiffs Sinatro and Prost are seeking an unspecified amount of money, claiming they overpaid for their $2 pasta boxes.
As for Barilla, their website states that pasta purchased in the US is made domestically, but the machines the company uses are the same as their Italian plant in Parma. Barilla actually finished a $65 million Ames factory expansion in 2019. The factory produces 200,000 metric tons of pasta annually and employs around 214 people.
According to an article from the Washington Post, false advertising claims against grocery products are regularly filed because it's one of the last areas where consumers don't sign away their rights to sue. Consumer rights protect customers no matter how trivial; and there is a difference in the nutrients of Italian pasta. Consumers are increasingly more interested in the transparency of their food sources and what it may contain.
According to the report, a Barilla spokesperson said Friday (10/21) the claims are unfounded, pointing to wording on the packaging that says the pasta is made in the United States with ingredients from the US and elsewhere. The companies statement said, “We’re very proud of the brand’s Italian heritage, the company’s Italian know-how, and the quality of our pasta in the U.S. and globally.”
As of this morning the company's website was having some server issues.