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Woman sues Pret A Manger for $5.5 million for deceptive packaging

One woman wants to serve a popular lunch chain a knuckle sandwich.

She alleges patrons of Pret A Manger are “paying for air” in a lawsuit she filed Monday in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.

According to the New York Law Journal, Yee Ting Lau’s suit claims the sandwich chain intentionally makes its wraps appear bigger than they are — and charges accordingly. At $7.49 a pop, Lau figures there shouldn’t be any “slack fill” in her Chakalaka Wrap, which she purchased at the Pret on 39th St. and Madison Ave. in June.

Slack fill, which is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, is the empty space included in products for shipping. Some products contain more non-functional slack fill space than others.

The lawsuit alleges that many Pret wraps, not just the Chakalaka, have about 1.25 to 2.5 inches of “air” between the two sandwich halves, which is hidden by a strip of cardboard outer packaging. Different sandwiches had different amounts of deception.

Sandwiches mentioned in the suit include Pret’s Bang Bang Chicken; Green Goddess Turkey; Mustard, Chicken and Swiss Wrap; the Greek Falafel Wrap; and the Avocado Pine Nut Wrap.

There are several laws regulating deceptive packaging and false advertising, including New York’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. And others have sued before over food contents containing less than advertised.

Earlier this year, two people sued Wise Foods, Inc., which makes potato chips and other snacks, for the excessive amount of air in its less-than-half-full bags of chips. The complaint said they were “financially injured.”

Despite an increase in slack-fill cases reported by New York Law Journal, many of these kinds of cases are dismissed in the early stages.

Pret A Manger has yet to respond to request’s for comment.

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