Mistranslated Cookie Labels “Endangered Lives”, Suit Says

By Collin Krabbe ·      

Law360 (January 11, 2023, 3:57 PM EST) — A customer who triggered a worldwide recall on an allegedly mislabeled cookie has filed a proposed class action against the Japanese convenience chain that sold the item, saying the store failed to properly disclose the presence of tree nuts on its English labeling, putting lives at risk.  

Makiko Fukaya said in her Northern District of California suit on Monday that she had a violent allergic reaction to a Tiramisu Twist Cookie bought from a Daiso store last summer in Daly City. After beginning to eat the product in her car, Fukaya started to react before realizing the cookies contained nut products. She dashed to Target for an EpiPen and was rushed to the emergency room, the suit says.

Fukaya says she discovered that, while the Japanese version of the ingredients list identified nut products, the English version did not. Counsel for Fukaya alerted defendants Daiso California Holdings LLC and Daiso California LLC in October, and a worldwide recall was issued the following day, the suit says.

In December, Fukaya went back to the Daly City Daiso store for more items, including caramel corn made by Tohato, the suit says. Like the cookies she previously purchased there, the caramel corn also had differing English and Japanese ingredients labels, with no mention of tree nuts on the English label, according to the lawsuit.  

“The concern here is that, whatever process is being used to translate the original Japanese ingredient label to the English language sticker label placed on the original packaging is woefully inadequate and is endangering the lives of consumers based on these mislabeled ingredient lists,” the suit says.

“Defendants have been placed on notice that their English-translated food labels on packaged goods are inadequate, with the risk of endangering lives, yet have failed to systemically review the process of how these labels are translated,” the suit adds.

The suit seeks damages and proposes a California class, multistate class and nationwide class for consumers who purchased certain products for personal use.

Each class is estimated to number in the thousands, according to the suit, which alleges violations of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, the False Advertising Law, and the Unfair Competition Law, plus breach of express warranty on behalf of the multistate class.

A spokesperson for Daiso told Law360 that “since this is a pending litigation matter, Daiso California LLC has no comment at this time.”

Fukaya is represented by Ara Jabagchourian of Law Offices of Ara Jabagchourian P.C.

Counsel information for the Daiso parties was not immediately available.