According to a complaint on Wednesday night, substantially all bauxite that Reynolds Consumer Products uses in its foil comes from outside the United States, which accounts for only a small percentage of global production of the ore.

The complaint filed in Manhattan federal court also says a substantial amount of the bauxite is transformed into alumina and then into aluminum outside the United States.

This makes Reynolds' "Foil Made in USA" claim on its packaging false and misleading to reasonable consumers, because they "value buying products which are made in America" and therefore would pay more, the complaint said.

Reynolds, based in Lake Forest, Illinois, declined to comment, saying it does not discuss pending litigation.

The lawsuit is led by Anaya Washington of Bronx, New York, and seeks at least $5 million of damages for New Yorkers who bought Reynolds Wrap foil in the last three years.

Washington said she bought her foil at a Target because she trusted the Reynolds Wrap brand, calling it as familiar as Kleenex and Vaseline, and likes to "buy American." She said she wouldn't have done so had she known where her foil came from.

The lawsuit is one of hundreds accusing companies of using insufficiently precise labeling that induces shoppers to pay more, including through appeals to their patriotism.

In 2021, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission adopted a "Made in USA Labeling Rule," which the complaint cites, to protect businesses and consumers from being misled over product origins.

The case is Washington v Reynolds Consumer Products LLC, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 24-02327.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

By Jonathan Stempel