CHICAGO
10/20/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Vienna Beef Settles "Pure Beef" Lawsuit

My profile on Vienna Beef veep Bob Schwartz a few weeks back prompted a representative of a local law firm to point out that the venerable hot dog concern has just settled a class-action lawsuit accusing it of falsely advertising its natural-casing hot dogs as "100% beef" or "pure beef." Seems that a handful of hot dog eaters who keep kosher (or maybe not--the complaint isn't explicitly clear) discovered that Vienna uses sheep casings and sometimes hog casings on some of its sausages. Lance A. Raphael and the Consumer Advocacy Center to the rescue. The Chicago firm filed a suit accusing Vienna of "misleading advertising and marketing of its 'natural casing' products," and in July Vienna settled.

The punishment? Vienna now must disclose what the casings are made from, take down any old signs and posters claiming pure beef, and are on the hook for $300,000. Aggrieved parties who want a piece of that can submit a claim for $3 for every "Natural Casing Product" consumed since July 2003. Who's eligible?

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