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What? Barilla Pasta Is Not Made in Italy!

Two California consumers are suing Barilla claiming they were misled into believing that many of the company’s products were made in Italy and from ingredients sourced in Italy.

How did they get that impression? They say it was right on the front of the box: “Italy’s #1 brand of pasta.” And they even adorn that claim with the colors of the Italian flag.

Barilla front of box

The consumers’ lawyers go on to assert in the complaint that the reasonable inferences they made based on that were false.

*MOUSE PRINT:

However, contrary to this labeling, the Products are not made in Italy, the Products’ ingredients are not from Italy, and the Products are not manufactured in Italy. Rather, the Products are made and manufactured in Iowa and New York, with ingredients (such as the main ingredient, durum wheat) sourced in countries other than Italy.

The consumers say they wouldn’t have paid as much for the product, or not purchased it all had they known the true facts.

The consumers’ lawyers also refer to numerous Italian references on the Barilla website, including on the homepage where it says that Barilla is “an Italian family-owned food company.” However, a bit disingenuously, they also assert that the consumers were bamboozled because:

Plaintiff Sinatro has no way of determining whether the Challenged Representation [suggesting it was made in Italy] on the Products is true.

Well, had these consumers just looked at one of the side panels of the box, they would have seen the actual origin of the product. Of course, no one is suggesting that a shopper has some obligation to read the six sides of every package before they buy it.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Barilla Made in USA

The lawyers accuse the company of false and misleading representations among other claims. They are seeking refunds for consumers, punitive damages, an injunction to stop the company from continuing its allegedly misleading practices, and an order for them to commence a corrective advertising campaign to dispel the notion that the products come from Italy.

What is your impression of Barilla? Had you believed it was imported from Italy?

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28 thoughts on “What? Barilla Pasta Is Not Made in Italy!”

  1. All I would get from the statement “Italy’s #1 brand of pasta” is that it was the best selling pasta brand in Italy. To me, nothing it those words infers that it was made there.

    • 1000% correct but how accurate is that statement though. Does another brand of pasta sell more in Italy? Is another brand of pasta more popular in Italy?

      That brand is certainly sold at carrefour stores in Italy.

      The company though was founded in Italy around 1877.

      • Hi, I’m Italian and although Barilla isn’t the best brand of pasta by quality, it’s definitely the most sold brand (usually it’s cheaper than other more premium brands).

  2. Looking for a payday, shame on the lawyers. Perhaps if I purchased in a specialty grocer in the North End of Boston I would expect it to be imported.

  3. My first impression before reading the article was that we had yet another frivolous suit. Then the labeling showing “Italy’s #1 Brand of Pasta” gives the impression that it is indeed made in Italy.

    So, I rule for the Plaintiff and order Barilla to fix the misleading labeling and give each of the two plaintiffs six boxes of pasta for their trouble. And a bottle of olive oil made on the exotic shores of New Jersey.

  4. Never ever would think , nor have I ever presumed that it was made in Italy based on those parameters . Proud it is made in the states. Are you certain this isn’t the guy who sues egg roll manufacturers because there’s no egg in an egg roll? Another nuisance lawsuit!

  5. Although I think the wording on the box is misleading everyone should take any assertion by a corporation with a huge grain of salt. Most advertising is misleading or contains outright lies.

  6. Well, there’s this…

    In 2013, after the chairman Guido Barilla made comments regarding his opposition to adoption by gay families and unwillingness to showcase gay families in his advertisements, some called for a boycott against Barilla products. Guido later apologized and the company began advocating for LGBT causes

  7. Here’s a curveball:
    I knew we had some Barilla gluten free product in our panty so i wanted to check. The GF Penne has the identical “Made in USA” statement as in the article.

    However, the GF Lasagne very clearly states that it’s a “Product of Italy”

    If you were the judge, how do you decide?

  8. YES! Barilla Pasta is made in Italy. Barilla got it’s start in Italy and still makes pasta products in Italy. The claim that Barilla is Italy’s #1 brand is very true, however Italian made Barilla stays in Italy and is NOT imported to the United States. Barilla makes its pasta under strict Italian guidelines.

    This lawsuit is very frivolous. I see nothing misleading on the packaging. The side panel clearly states they’re made in the USA. Claiming to be Italy’s #1 brand is merely a statement and a true statement and nothing more. Being Italian myself, I’ve never had an issue using Barilla.

    This is no different then if Coca Cola started claiming that they’re the #1 cola beverage in Europe on all their bottles sold here in the US.

  9. Absurd claim. It clearly states on the package where it is made. It is also not the most expensive pasta product.

  10. If I were the judge I would rule for Barilla and sentence the plaintiffs to eat Barilla pasta every day for a year. This is crazy. Barilla is a worldwide company headquartered in Italy and manufactured in several countries. And according to what I read is the #1 pasta in Italy.

  11. Reading over this, I’m in the ‘stupid lawsuit’ group.

    I will agree that “Italy’s #1 brand of pasta” might sound misleading to someone who reads it for two seconds, but it is objectively true that Barilla is Italy’s #1 brand of pasta. That’s not a lie or misleading in any way. “Italy’s #1 brand of pasta” doesn’t say “This box of pasta was made in Italy and imported.” Just that the brand Barilla is the most popular in Italy and that they’ve brought their products to the US.

    A comparable example:
    Godiva is a top tier chocolate company. They were founded and started selling their products in Belgium. They expanded to the US and the Godiva sold in the US is manufactured in Reading, PA. It’s not misleading for them to call themselves Belgian chocolate.

  12. Forget about the technicality of the words. It’s all about the intent of the words. And the intent is to make the average consumer think that this box of pasta that he/she is buying at Stop & Shop came from Italy. It is wrong and it is reprehensible. Let a judge decide if it’s illegal.

  13. I buy the store brand because it’s usually the cheapest. Barilla doesn’t even cross my radar.

  14. No and the owner Chairman Guido Barisal made anti-gay remarks 5 years ago and is still back tracking his words.

  15. Never bought Barilla because it was ‘from Italy’. Did buy perceiving it to be a better brand of Pasta. Now, olive oil is another matter. I have paid an a ridiculous amount for brands that assert they are pure and Italian. Never did any research to prove if I was getting my money’s worth.

  16. I would have never thought that Barilla was made in Italy. If I wondered, I would have just looked at the back of the package, which says Made in USA. Useless lawsuit!

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