Wiener War Ends in Truce

Advertising battle between Ball Park Franks and Oscar Mayer over which is the best hot dog was settled out of court

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The "wiener war" over America's tastiest hot dogs ended in a truce Thursday.

    The advertising battle between Ball Park Franks and Oscar Mayer over which is the best hot dog was settled out of court.

    The companies, America's largest hot dog makers, both alleged the other exaggerated their claims about being No. 1.

    The terms of the agreement are confidential and neither side paid any money.

    "Sara Lee is pleased with the outcome, and looks forward to continuing to produce and market its leading hot dog brand," said spokesman Mike Cummins.

    Messages seeking comment were left at Kraft's headquarters Thursday evening.

    The legal beef began when Downer's Grove-based Sara Lee filed a lawsuit in 2009, singling out Oscar Mayer ads that brag its dogs beat Ball Park franks in a national taste test. Sara Lee argued the tests were deeply flawed and gave as an example that the hot dogs were presented to participants without buns or any condiments, such as ketchup.

    Northfield-based Kraft filed a countersuit later that same year, accusing Sara Lee of running ads for Ball Parks with the tagline "America's Best Franks" based on an award from ChefsBest, a food-judging organization based in San Francisco.

    The other focus of the trial was Kraft's claim that its Oscar Mayer Jumbo Beef Franks are "100 percent pure beef.'' Sara Lee said the claim is untrue, that it cast aspersions on Ball Park franks and damaged their sales.

    Kraft countered that the 100 percent beef tag was never intended to suggest there weren't other  ingredients -- such as water and salt. The company said it was only meant to convey that the meat
    that was used was all beef.