CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A local attorney says a popular lunch meat maker has been defrauding you for years. Attorney Aaron Mayer filed a lawsuit against Oscar Mayer and Hormel Corporation, saying both companies advertise a bunch of bologna on its labels.
The labels touting 95%, 97% and 98% fat free are prominently displayed on the front of Oscar Mayer and Hormel lunch meat packages.
"Often times it's ten times as fat as they claim them to be. That's why we filed the lawsuit," Mayer said.
Mayer says he filed a class-action lawsuit against the two companies in the US District Court Tampa Florida division. He says the front labels are misleading. For example, an Oscar Mayer deli meat claiming it is 98% fat free with 50 calories per serving.
"If you turn the product over and look at the calories from fat, it says of those 50 calories, ten calories come from fat. You divide ten by 50 or double 50 and get 100 and figure out 20 calories from fat, and you see it's 20% fat," Mayer said.
Mayer says he filed the lawsuit on behalf of a Tampa father who realized by looking at the back label, the meats were fattier than the front label advertised. Mayer says that practice is tricky and misleading.
"We know the labels were designed to sell these products. That they hope and expect consumers to rely on the claims they make on the labels," Mayer said.
A Kraft Foods, parent company to Oscar Mayer, associate director responded to Live 5's request for an interview saying the labels provide consumers with helpful information including calories from fat.
"This lawsuit is unfounded. We stand behind the statements on our labels, which are true and clear. What's more, these labels are regulated and approved by the USDA prior to use," Sydney Lindner said.
Mayer says the front label claim is the cause for concern.
"USDA rules do require to disclaim how they're making that claim, which none of them are doing," Mayer said.
Mayer says he wants customers to be compensated if they bought the lunch meat because they thought it was low fat. He also wants both companies to change their labels. He says the lawsuit has nothing to do with anyone who became overweight or obese by eating the lunch meat.
Live 5 contacted the Hormel Corporation by phone and email, but no one from the company has responded.
Mayer says the lawsuit has been filed, but he expects to serve the companies with the lawsuit by the end of the week. He says by law they will have 21 days to respond.