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Elizabeth Russett in the kitchen with a Pop-Tart | Marcel Strigberger

Friday, November 05, 2021 @ 2:47 PM | By Marcel Strigberger


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Marcel Strigberger
As Buttercup says in Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore, “Things are not always as they seem. Skim milk masquerades as cream.” Or in this case strawberries. 

One Elizabeth Russett of New York City has started a class action against Kellogg’s claiming false advertising as allegedly their strawberry Pop-Tarts do not contain enough strawberry filling, there being a preponderance of dried apples and pears. The claim is for US$5 million.

I wonder what would motivate anybody to take up this cause. Then again in history there are causes and there are causes. I think of crusaders and the holy crusades come to mind. Maybe she wants to liberate those Pop-Tarts from the dried apples and pears. I wonder whether she and her co-plaintiffs plan to attend court wearing special crusader tunics. What would the emblem be? A large ripe strawberry? All logical.

Or I think of Joan of Arc who wanted to drive the English out of France. Maybe this iconic woman inspired the plaintiff here. I see an obvious parallel. And I believe I am comparing apples to apples. Or should I say ... 

And who can forget the iconic consumer rights advocate, Ralph Nader, who led that class action against Ford regarding the propensity of their Pintos to explode when struck from the rear. I see a connection here too. In this case there may even be a reason, not fully disclosed by Kellogg’s, why those tarts are called “Pop.” I agree the consumer must be protected.

I suppose there are other causes which could be addressed these days, including gun control, climate issues and even COVID-19 vaccines. Perhaps the COVID-19 vaccine sparked this Pop-Tart concern. Are these Pop-Tarts safe for children under age 12? Maybe there could be weird side effects, like the kids all starting to speak Swedish. 

And even if they are safe the dearth of strawberry content may cause the nutritional effects to wane, resulting in the need for a strawberry booster. I know I’m high risk; I’m a senior.

And why claim the sum of US$5 million? For physical injuries some jurisdictions have these so-called “meat charts.” In New York do the courts have a fruit chart? 

                Not enough strawberries:  (US)$5 million;
                Not enough kiwi:                (US)$3 million;
                Any Parmesan cheese:   (US)$10 million

I know the latter one is not a fruit, but the scent kills me and including it is just a warning to any food outfit not to dare add it to their cereal. They are now on notice.

Interestingly the New York court will now, while still in the pandemic, have this extra lawsuit added to its no doubt overburdened caseload. We are talking a jury trial. The judges will have to decide which cases receive priority. Does it get dealt with ahead of guys in custody on criminal charges? I can see the judges vetting the trials list:

“I know there are over 500 prisoners awaiting trial BUT…We’re talking Pop-Tarts…Hey, this is serious! And after all, these plaintiffs are entitled to equal access to justice. Those criminals can wait.”

Kellogg’s won’t comment much on the case, noting it’s in litigation. We know they have a dynamite fighter in their corner: Tony the Tiger. I wouldn’t mess with Tony. Roar.

Whatever happens, I say good luck to the lady from the Big Apple. Or rather the small strawberry.

Marcel Strigberger retired from his Greater Toronto Area litigation practice and continues the more serious business of humorous author and speaker. His just launched book Boomers, Zoomers, and Other Oomers: A Boomer-biased Irreverent Perspective on Aging is now available in paper and e-book versions where books are sold. Visit www.marcelshumour.com. Follow him @MarcelsHumour.

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