If I found a chunk of meat in vegetarian soup, do I have any legal rights as a vegetarian?

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If I found a chunk of meat in vegetarian soup, do I have any legal rights as a vegetarian?

The product label clearly states vegetarian. The chunk of meat was sent to a lab for processing, the company said it had the characteristics of chicken but wouldn’t confirm if it was for sure. The company did admit that a chicken soup is run on the same line as the vegetarian. The company is willing to pay $100 but I have to sign an NDA. The company didn’t recall any of the cans of soup still on the shelf that had been contaminated from the same batch.

Asked on April 10, 2012 under General Practice, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

$100 is actually generous under these circumstances. The law only provides compensation for demonstrable physical injury or economic loss, except in extreme cases (e.g. you can recover for emotional pain and suffering if someone, like a stalker, deliberately tried to inflict same on you, or if you were physically near a loved one whom you watched killed in an accident); there is no compensation for violaton of beliefs--such as a Jew or Muslim being mistakenly served pork, or a vegetarian being served meat. If you were not sickened, injured, etc. from this meat, then you don't really  have any legally cognizable injury--that is, you don't have anything you could sue for, beyond seeking a refund of the cost of this defective can or bowl of soup. (It does not matter whether  or not they have recalled other cans--that has nothing to do with injuries you have suffered and may recover compensation for.) The company is  willing to pay you $100 for  your silence when they don't seem to have to pay you anything at all.


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