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Alessi Autentico Premium Risotto Underfilled Containers Class Action

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Alessi Risotto Container

Plaintiff Anthony Buso bought Vigo Importing Company’s Alessi Autentico Premium Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms, he claims, only to find that the box was more than 70% empty. The complaint for this class action claims that the Alessi containers have too much slack fill and deceive consumers about the amount of product inside.

The class for this action is all residents of California who made retail purchases of Vigo’s Alessi Autentico Premium Risotto products with nonfunctional slack fill, as defined by the California Business & Professions Code, during the applicable limitations period up to and including final judgment in this action.

Many state and federal laws forbid deceptive packaging or excessive slack fill. For example, California’s Fair Packaging and Labeling Act, a part of its Business & Professions Code, aims to protect consumers against deception or misrepresentation. One of its provisions is, “No food containers shall be made, formed, or filled as to be misleading.” It adds, “A container that does not allow the consumer to fully view its contents shall be considered to be filled so as to be misleading if it contains nonfunctional slack fill.”

At times, companies have good reason to leave empty space, or slack fill, in a package. California law offers six reasons why slack fill may be functional:

  • Protection of the contents.
  • The requirement of machines used for enclosing the package.
  • Settling during shipping and handling.
  • The need for the packaging to perform a function, such as when the packaging plays a part in the preparation or consumption of a food.
  • The packaging of the food in a reusable container, where the container has value of its own, such as food packaged in a gift container.
  • Inability to further reduce the size of the package to accommodate labeling requirements, discourage pilfering, facilitate handling, or accommodate tamper-resistant devices.

According to the complaint, none of these reasons applies to the Alessi risotto. The containers are non-transparent, but there does not seem to be a reason why so much empty space should be left around the product. Photos in the complaint show the outside of the package as well as the depth of the package interior at which the product begins.

The complaint claims violation of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

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