Florida woman sues over Velveeta Shells & Cheese ‘ready time’ claim

A Florida woman is suing the parent company of Velveeta’s microwavable Shells & Cheese cups, claiming that she would not have bought the product had she known that it would take longer to prepare than the 3 1/2 minutes stated on the label of the box.

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Amanda Ramirez, of Hialeah, filed the class-action lawsuit on Nov. 18 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida’s Miami Division.

Ramirez is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against Kraft Heinz Foods Company, which manufactures the macaroni and cheese products, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The lawsuit is seeking damages of more than $5 million, including statutory and punitive damages, plus interest and “costs.”

She accuses the company of violating state and federal laws against deceptive and unfair trade practices, fraud, false and misleading advertising, breach of express warranty, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment, according to the newspaper.

At issue is the amount of time it takes to prepare the macaroni and cheese.

According to the lawsuit, the statement on the bottom left-hand corner of the box that claims the product is “ready in 3½ minutes” is false and misleading because the product takes longer, Ramirez alleged. The directions on the back of the package detail four steps in preparing the macaroni and cheese, and the lawsuit says that one of the steps -- microwaving the food -- takes 3 1/2 minutes.

The lawsuit did not state how long it took Ramirez overall to prepare the cups for consumption.

Ramirez bought a box of eight 2.39-ounce cups at several locations, including a Publix supermarket in Hialeah, “between October and November 2022,” the lawsuit states.

Ramirez said she paid “a premium price” of $10.99, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

The suit claims that the $10.99 price is higher than similar products that are represented in a “non-misleading way.”

Kraft Heinz Foods Company did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit, according to the Sun-Sentinel.