NEWARK (CN) – In what may be the first federal class action based on concealment of chicken giblets, Perdue Farms is accused of disposing of “an enormous quantity of extra giblet parts” by a “secret practice” of stuffing extra hearts, gizzards and necks into its whole chickens, thereby “dispos(ing) of its extra giblets” and tricking customers into paying the regular per-pound price for them.
Perdue gets the extra giblets from the birds it sells in parts, the class claims.
“Unknown to Plaintiff and Class,” the complaint states, “Perdue has a secret practice of disposing of additional giblet parts by inserting them (e.g., more than one heart, liver, gizzard, neck per bird) into Perdue whole chicken sold to retail customers. By improperly inserting these giblet parts into Perdue chicken, Perdue disposes of its extra giblets by essentially having Plaintiff and Class ‘pay’ the disposal costs Perdue itself would incur if it wanted to properly dispose of them. Further, by this improper method, Perdue incorporates the additional giblet parts in the price per-pound of Perdue whole chickens sold to retail customers. Thus, while Plaintiff was charged $1.29 per pound for whole chicken, the weight of the chicken – and thus total price charged – included the extra giblet parts. This practice allows Perdue to essentially charge Plaintiff and Class for its costs to dispose of extra giblet parts, totaling millions of dollars in improper charges assessed to consumers. Consequently, Perdue makes retail consumers of its whole chickens pay for the privilege of disposing of Perdue’s processing waste. Perdue’s acts and omissions constitute: (1) statutory fraud, and (2) unjust enrichment.”
The class is represented by Peter Masnik of Haddonfield, N.J. It estimates damages in the millions of dollars.