Man Sues ‘Texas Pete,' Claims the Hot Sauce Isn't Made in Texas

North Carolina company has manufactured Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce for decades

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

A California man is filing a class action lawsuit against Texas Pete hot sauce complaining that despite the name there's nothing "Texas" about the product.

In the lawsuit, Phillip White said he bought a bottle of Texas Pete Original Hot Sauce at a Los Angeles grocery store in September 2021 for $3 because he thought it was an authentic Texas product.

"Had White known the product was not made in Texas, he would not have purchased the product, or would have paid significantly less for it," the lawsuit said.

White claims in the lawsuit that "the geographic origin of a product matters to consumers and a company is therefore prohibited from misrepresenting it" and that the product dupes consumers into believing they are buying an "authentic Texas hot sauce" when it's a standard "Louisiana-style hot sauce made with ingredients sourced outside the state of Texas at a factory in North Carolina."

The plaintiff goes on to say the label furthers the deception by using distinctly Texas imagery including the state's lone star along with a lassoing cowboy.

White said the defendant, T.W. Garner Food Co., knows "the state of Texas enjoys a certain mysticism and appeal in the consumer marketplace and is known for its quality cuisine, spicy food and hot sauce."

"By way of its false marketing and labeling, defendant knowingly and intentionally capitalizes on consumers’ desire to partake in the culture and authentic cuisine of one of the most prideful states in America," the lawsuit alleges.

T.W. Garner Food Co replied to NBC 5 Monday afternoon and said that they were aware of the lawsuit and are looking into the claims.

"We are aware of the current lawsuit that has been filed against our company regarding the Texas Pete brand name. We are currently investigating these assertions with our legal counsel to find the clearest and most effective way to respond," the company said.

The lawsuit includes a reference to T.W. Garner Food's website where the origin of the hot sauce's name is recalled. In it, they answer how a red pepper sauce from North Carolina came to be named "Texas Pete."

White hopes to recover the price premium consumers overpaid for the products due to "false and deceptive labeling" and force the company to change its advertising and labeling practices.


Interestingly, the lawsuit dives into the differences between Louisiana-style hot sauces and Texas hot sauces, saying that Louisiana-style sauces are generally made with the same ingredients (vinegar, chiles and salt that are pureed and fermented) and that a hot sauce is "distinctly Texas" if it is made in Texas, using Texas ingredients and flavor profiles.

"Texas hot sauce is not a 'style' of hot sauce like Louisiana-style sauces. A hot sauce can be Louisiana-style without being made in Louisiana or containing Louisiana ingredients. Texas hot sauces, on the other hand, must be either made in Texas from ingredients sourced from Texas. A Texas hot sauce can be Louisiana-style, but it must have its own unique Texas influence and roots," the lawsuit said.


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