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Starburst lawsuit: Calorie counts are off by 10 per serving

Talk about counting calories.

An Illinois man is suing Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. over a $2.49 bag of Starburst candy, claiming buyer's remorse because the fruity chews allegedly were labeled on the splashy front of the package as having 130 calories per serving when, according to the nutritional information chart on the less-conspicuous back, they had 140.

Artur Tyksinski never would have bought the corn syrup- and sugar-sweetened Gummies Sours candy at a Chicago-area drugstore earlier this year had he known it contained 8 percent more calories, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court.

The lawsuit against Chicago-based Wrigley seeks class-action status. The class could include "hundreds, if not thousands," of indignant Starburst buyers, the suit says.

Tyksinski bought a six-serving package. "So instead of consuming a product which the plaintiff believed contained 780 calories in the entire package, he received a product that contained at least 840 calories," the lawsuit says.

Allegations in the lawsuit, which also names Wrigley owner Mars as a defendant, include unjust enrichment and violations of Illinois consumer fraud and food, drug and cosmetics laws.

The company said it's too early to comment on the lawsuit.

Tyksinski is seeking actual and punitive damages, lawyers' fees and costs, and an injunction prohibiting further sales of the product with the allegedly inconsistent labeling.

Federal judges in Chicago recently have been taking a skeptical view of class-action lawsuits over allegedly misleading food claims.

A settlement in a class-action lawsuit claiming Subway's "footlong" subs weren't really a foot long was recently tossed by a federal court. One judge wrote that the Subway case was "no better than a racket" because only the lawyers benefited.

Another federal judge in Chicago last week tossed out lawsuits against Kraft Heinz and numerous retailers that alleged the companies violated state consumer protection laws by selling products that were marked as 100 percent Parmesan cheese despite containing an anti-clumping ingredient.

byerak@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @beckyyerak

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