If you go to your freezer and pull out a box of Bagel Bites, there's a chance it says the mini frozen pizzas include mozzarella cheese, the most essential building block of any pizza pie. One new federal lawsuit, however, suggests the cheese included on the treats isn't really mozzarella — instead, it alleges the cheese topping is a deceptive imitation.
Wisconsin resident Kaitlyn Huber filed suit last month saying Kraft Heinz — the manufacturer behind Bagel Bites and hundreds of other food products — is using "false, deceptive, and misleading" verbiage on its package.
Wisconsin, of course, is the self-proclaimed cheese capital of the world and has a prominent presence throughout the lawsuit. As stated in the filing paperwork obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Huber says dairy is more integral to the state — which she calls "America's Dairyland" — even more than what "potatoes are to Idaho and oranges to Florida."
The state produced upwards of a billion pounds of cheese in 2017 alone.
After laying the groundwork for how important dairy is to the state of Wisconsin, the suit adds the cheese topping used on the Bagel Bites is, according to the item's product list, a cheese blend with "part-skim mozzarella cheese" and "modified food starch."
"It is misleading to add filler ingredients to 'cheese' and still call the product cheese," the suit states. Furthermore, the suit states Kraft Heinz has violated the Wisconsin Deceptive Trade Practices Act, alleging the company committed negligent misrepresentation and fraud by calling the cheese used mozzarella cheese.
Though cheese is at the forefront of the lawsuit, considering Wisconsin's cheese status, the suit also alleges the tomato sauce used on Bagel Bites isn't really what it seems. "Reasonable Wisconsin consumers expect a product claiming to contain 'Tomato Sauce' will contain only tomato ingredients and seasonings instead of thickeners like cornstarch and methylcellulose," the filing adds.
A similar class-action lawsuit was filed in the state of New York earlier this year and is currently ongoing.
Cover photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images