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Wegmans facing class-action lawsuit over 'vanilla' ice cream

A lawsuit alleges that Wegmans vanilla ice cream isn't really vanilla.

Two people have filed a class-action lawsuit against Wegmans, saying it is committing "food fraud" by labeling its ice cream "vanilla" even though it does not contain vanilla or vanilla extract.

Wegmans' ice cream appears to achieve its vanilla flavor from other "natural flavors," according to its ingredients list. Because of that, the label should read "Vanilla flavored ice cream," the lawsuit said. Failing to label the ice cream that way, while charging "premium prices" for it, is misleading the lawsuit said.

The suit charges that Wegmans violated consumer protection laws and committed negligent representation, breach of warranty, fraud and unjust enrichment. The plaintiffs want Wegmans to change its labels and are seeking monetary damages.

"For decades, consumers have expected products containing vanilla ice cream to be exclusively flavored by real vanilla derived from the vanilla plant and contain a sufficient amount of vanilla to characterize the food," the suit reads.

Wegmans disagrees.

"We take great pride in the quality of all of our Wegmans Brand products. We believe that the labeling of our ice cream fully complies with all regulations and industry standards, and is not misleading in any way," Wegmans said in a statement.

The complaint was filed in federal court Friday by Quincy Steele of Pennsylvania of Jimmy Arriola of New York City, on behalf of customers in the seven states where Wegmans does business.

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