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Is Barilla really ‘Italy’s No. 1 brand of pasta?’ A lawsuit says no

<i>Tony Gentile/Reuters</i><br/>Barilla is facing a lawsuit over allegedly deceptive advertising about the pasta's origins. Packs of Barilla pasta are seen in a supermarket in Rome
Reuters
Tony Gentile/Reuters
Barilla is facing a lawsuit over allegedly deceptive advertising about the pasta's origins. Packs of Barilla pasta are seen in a supermarket in Rome

By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

Barilla can’t avoid a class-action lawsuit over allegedly deceptive advertising about the pasta’s origins, a federal judge ruled this week.

At issue is the brand’s slogan “Italy’s No. 1 brand of pasta,” which the lawsuit says can lead customers to believe it’s actually made in Italy. The customers that filed the lawsuit last year, Matthew Sinatro and Jessica Prost, said they bought multiple boxes of Barilla pasta thinking they were made in Italy.

They also said that Barilla misrepresents its Italian origin because its uses the colors of Italy’s flag, “further perpetuating the notion that the products are authentic pastas from Italy.” They also say that with Barilla’s ad campaign because it positions it “as authentic, genuine Italian pastas—made from ingredients sources in Italy (like durum wheat), and manufactured in Italy,” when it’s not.

However, as stated on Barilla’s website, it’s not. The pasta is made in Iowa and New York, using the same machines used its plant in Parma, Italy. Barilla was founded in 1877 in the small Italian town and has grown as an “international group present in more than 100 countries.”

The judge this week ruled that the pair suffered “economic injury” and presented enough evidence that they wouldn’t have purchased Barilla if they knew it wasn’t made in Italy. A box of Barilla can cost twice as much as a private label.

Barilla didn’t immediately return CNN Business’ request for comment.

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