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Hot Dog Companies Square Off Over Ad Claims

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Two Chicago companies are squaring off Monday over hot dogs.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, a U.S. District Court judge will determine whether Kraft’s Oscar Mayer wieners or Sara Lee’s Ball Park franks broke false-advertising laws in their efforts to become top dog.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Sara Lee first sued Kraft Foods in 2009, over claims that Oscar Mayer hot dogs won a national taste test over Ball Park franks. Sara Lee says the tests stacked the deck against Ball Park in part by altering the way the hot dogs were cooked and served.

The lawsuit also contends that Oscar Mayer touts its Jumbo Beef Franks as “100 percent pure beef,” arguing that the claim is untrue, cast aspersions on Ball Park franks and damaged their sales.

Kraft defends the “100 percent pure beef” tag, saying its intent was to state that the only meat used is beef. Some industry hot dogs include a mix of turkey, pork, chicken or other meats. Kraft further argues that the “pure beef” label is justified because surveys show a perception among some consumers that hot dogs contain “mystery meats.”

Meanwhile, Oscar Mayer filed a countersuit over a Ball Park Franks ad that claimed the title of “America’s Best Franks.” The ad further asserts that other hot dogs “aren’t even in the same league.”

U.S. District Judge Morton Denlow is presiding over the case, maybe even with relish.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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