Is it illegal to refill Heinz bottles with a cheaper ketchup?

The 610 Latimer crew has a regular trip to Sumo Burger each week. We are generally quite happy with their set-up over there, although we’ve had some complaints. Stache received a chicken cheesesteak once instead of a regular cheesesteak, and another time they forgot PBR’s order altogether. The plasma screen television is gone, the quality of music fluctuates wildly, and the shakes invariably are ready well after the food. However, we continue to patronize Sumo because they make a great burger at a reasonable price and have a frequent customer plan. It certainly should have been mentioned in the Daily Cal’s review of the local burger establishments.

Recently though, Sumo has been deemed guilty of a serious crime. I first noticed the problem two weeks ago. The fries seemed to taste a bit funny. I inquired with my compatriots, and they noticed no problem. I tried a fry without ketchup, and it tasted fine. Upon restoration of the condiment, I realized it was not the french fry that was substandard; it was the ketchup! The bottle said Heinz, but I was skeptical. The next time we dined at Sumo, I picked up some Heinz packets on the way to the restaurant, and we did something of a taste test. The group unanimously decided that the ketchup in the bottle was certainly not Heinz. In our most recent trip, we noticed that behind the counter was a large can of Cheng’s ketchup with a pump attached for refilling the Heinz labelled bottles.

If I recall correctly from a conversation with two unabashed Heinz supporters, this activity is illegal. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything on the internet to corroborate their opinion, in the U.S. at least. There is a report from London of a cafe getting busted for refilling Heinz bottles with cheaper alternatives. I’ve contacted legal representation and will post my findings in due course.

Odie and JBarbs have confirmed that this practice is indeed illegal. They are preparing documentation that we will present to the management of Sumo Burger the next time we enter the establishment.

One thought on “Is it illegal to refill Heinz bottles with a cheaper ketchup?

  1. Where I used to work at a restaurant in Chicago we had to refill the Heinz bottles with a cheaper brand using a can with a pump. I was hoping the board of health would’ be noticed when they checked.

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