A warm, cheesy Bagel Bite is the perfect frozen snack, bringing us joy and convenience since the '80's. These mini bagel pizzas are simple and yummy, combining the concepts of pizza and bagels into a snackable treat. However, these beloved pizza snacks are currently facing a lawsuit alleging that they don't contain real cheese or real tomato sauce.
What Are Bagel Bites Made Of?
In a box of Bagel Bites containing sausage, cheese & pepperoni pizza bagels, the ingredients are: Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine, Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Water, Mozzarella Cheese (Milk, Cheese Cultures, Salt, Enzymes), Tomato Paste, Cooked Sausage (Pork, Water, Spices, Corn Syrup Solids Salt, Sodium Phosphates, Garlic), Pepperoni (Pork, Beef, Salt, Spices, Water, Dextrose, Seasonings (Oleoresin of Paprika, Natural Spice Extractives, BHA, BHT, Citric Acid), Lactic Acid Starter Culture, Sodium Nitrite), Contains 2% or Less of Salt, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Modified Cornstarch, Yeast, Soybean Oil, Nonfat Dry Milk, Whey Protein Concentrate (Milk), Flavor (Potassium Chloride, Ammonium Chloride, Yeast Extract, Corn Maltodextrin, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Calcium Lactate, Natural Flavor, Methyl Cellulose, Citric Acid, Red Pepper, Extractives or Oregano.
The Ore-Ida Bagel Bites box then gives cooking instructions for best quality and food safety, explaining that the product should reach 165 degrees F as measured by a food thermometer, and giving options for crispier or softer bagels. Whether you use a toaster oven or microwave oven on high power, your Bagel Bites will be the perfect quick snack.
Along with being tasty, these little bagels have some nutritional benefits. One serving has only 6 g of total fat, 0 g trans fat, 10 mg of cholesterol and 28 g carbohydrates. It also has 8 g protein, along with small amounts of vitamin A and calcium. However, this lawsuit brings into question the validity of the "mozzarella cheese" on the ingredient label.
The Bagel Bites Lawsuit
This federal lawsuit was filed at the end of April, and it claims that Kraft Heinz has misled customers with its "real" dairy seal. The seal is said to be deceptive, since Bagel Bites don't actually contain real tomato sauce or mozzarella cheese topping the bagel halves.
The lawsuit continues in explaining that the mozzarella cheese is made of "dairy ingredients with a small amount of permitted optional ingredients" like milk, cream, clotting enzymes, vinegar, coloring and salt. These ingredients are restricted "to prevent addition of lower quality ingredients in place of high-quality dairy ingredients," the lawsuit states.
Rather than the mozzarella cheese that consumers expect when biting into this mini pizza bagel, Bagel Bites are said to contain a cheese blend that has "part-skim mozzarella cheese and modified food starch" The lawsuit states that this blend is deceptive to customers who expect only mozzarella cheese, and that the modified food starch results in a less nutritious product. Along with this, the cheese blend has less than the really recommended value of protein, lowering its nutritional value even further.
Kraft Heinz's Response
A spokesperson of Kraft Heinz denied the accusation, stating that "Bagel Bites, the perfect bite-sized pizza snack, are made with delicious, high-quality ingredients that our fans know and love. We proudly stand by the food we make, and are focused on bringing great products to market. The lawsuit lacks any merit, and we will strongly defend our brand."
The attorney of Wisconsin resident Kaitlyn Huber says that he hopes that Kraft Heinz corrects its packaging to accurately represent its product. He says that "consumers, especially Wisconsin consumers, know what real mozzarella cheese is and isn't, and they know that real mozzarella cheese doesn't contain food starch. They also know that tomato sauce has real tomatoes."
He then points out that Wisconsin is known as "America's Dairyland," and that no other part of the country values the quality of its cheese more. We all know the ease of popping a baking sheet covered in frozen pizza bagels into the toaster oven and then enjoying the crispy, melty snack. However, cheese purists everywhere are paying close attention to the outcome of this Bagel Bites controversy.