Class Action Suit Slams McDonald’s Over ‘Mozzarella Sticks’ With No Cheese

McDonald’s is being hit with a class action suit over its “mozzarella sticks” by a customer who claims the snack actually contains no cheese.

An article in Joe.co.uk recently reported that people were complaining about the “mozzarella sticks,” saying the cheesy snack was missing the most important ingredient – mozzarella cheese.

Images were posted showing that inside the breadcrumb casing of the snack there appears to be nothing. They are reportedly hollow, where the tasty cheese should be located. Said images were posted all over Twitter, showing the “mozzarella sticks” and their lack of filling.

On Friday of last week, Chris Howe, a customer of McDonald’s in California, has hit the fast-food chain with a class action suit in the California federal court, alleging the snacks sold at its outlets do not contain actual mozzarella cheese, despite their advertisements to the contrary.

Reportedly, McDonald’s started selling the “mozzarella sticks” in 2015 and labels the snack as being made with “pure mozzarella,” “real mozzarella,” and “100 percent real cheese.” However, according to the complaint by Howe, they are actually composed of something else entirely.

The complaint reads, “Rather than solely containing cheese, the sticks contain an admixture of various substances.”

“In particular, McDonald’s has used starch as a cheap substitute and filler.”

Howe bought his order of “mozzarella sticks” at a McDonald’s outlet in Rancho Mirage, California, on December 24. Reportedly, a core sample was taken from one of the sticks and after testing was found to contain 3.76 percent starch by weight. According to Howe, McDonald’s added the filler to save money on their product.

The complaint continued by saying McDonald’s had been able to cut production costs by “limiting its reliance on actual dairy products necessary to make mozzarella, contrary to what the law requires for products labeled as ‘mozzarella.'”

Howe stated in the complaint that the company’s reason for doing so are self-evident and that by inserting the filler into the “mozzarella sticks,” McDonald’s then not only saves money but also increases its profits.

Quoting regulations, Howe says that products must spell out what ingredients different cheese should contain and that consumers expect products to be properly labeled and unadulterated. Howe says that by adding starch to the snacks and continuing to call them “mozzarella sticks,” the fast-food chain has both mislabeled and adulterated the product.

“The sticks are filled with a substance that is composed (in part) of starch, in violation of the federal standards of identity for ‘mozzarella’ cheese, and contrary to reasonable consumers’ expectations regarding the meaning of the term ‘mozzarella.'”

According to Howe, the packaging and advertisements for the McDonald’s “mozzarella sticks” are both “misleading, deceptive, unfair and fraudulent.” He is seeking claims under California’s unfair competition, false advertising, and consumer protection laws and is also seeking to represent a class of California residents who have purchased the “mozzarella sticks,” along with a nationwide class.

According to some tweets, they might have to extend it to a worldwide class, as the equivalent sold in the U.K. appears to be similarly lacking in cheese.

As for the suit itself, it asks for restitutionary and nonrestitutionary disgorgement, reinbursement of legal fees, and a cease-and-desist order prohibiting McDonald’s from continuing its allegedly illegal practice of selling the “mozzarella sticks.”

According to Howe, if he had known the truth about the “mozzarella sticks” he would never have bought them and according to Joe.co.uk the class action suit over the snacks is to the tune of over $5 million.

According to Law360, McDonald’s made a statement on Monday denying the allegations and defending the contents of its “mozzarella sticks,” saying “Our mozzarella cheese sticks are made with 100 percent low moisture part skim mozzarella cheese.”

“We intend to defend ourselves vigorously against these allegations.”

Readers, have you recently bought the “mozzarella sticks” from McDonald’s, and do you agree with the various tweets posted here?

[Photo via Flickr by Mike Mozart/CC BY 2.0]