One of three Ghirardelli Chocolate locations at Ghirardelli Square located in the historic Fisherman's Wharf area of San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, July 28, 2016. (Photo by Manny Crisostomo/The Sacramento Bee/TNS)

(Photo credit: Manny Crisostomo/The Sacramento Bee/TNS)

Candy Makers Fined $750,000 Over Misleading Chocolate Packaging

January 31, 2019

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Ghirardelli and Russell Stover have agreed to pay $750,000 in fines after prosecutors in California said they offered a little chocolate in a lot of wrapping.

Prosecutors in Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Fresno, Santa Cruz and Yolo counties sued the candy makers, alleging they misled consumers by selling chocolate products in containers that were oversized or "predominantly empty."

Prosecutors also alleged that Ghirardelli offered one chocolate product containing less cocoa than advertised.

The firms didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing but agreed to change their packaging under a settlement approved earlier this month. Some packages will shrink or will have a transparent window so consumers can look inside.

San Francisco-based Ghirardelli and Kansas City-based Russell Stover are owned by a Swiss company, Lindt & Sprungli.