Ghirardelli, Russell Stover fined over chocolate packaging

SAN ANSELMO, CA - JULY 14: A box of Russell Stover chocolates is displayed on July 14, 2014 in San Anselmo, California. Swiss chocolate maker Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Spruengli announced that it had agreed to purchase Kansas City based boxed choclate maker Russell Stover Candies for an undisclosed amount. The deal will make Lindt the third-largest chocolate manufacturer in North America. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — 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.

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