Turns out Texas Pete isn't as Texan as some might believe. A Los Angeles man has filed a class action lawsuit accusing Winston-Salem-based T.W. Garner Food Co. of false advertising after learning that its Texas Pete hot sauce is made in North Carolina—not the Lone Star State. 

As reported by North Carolina news station WGHP-TV, in Sept. 2021, Philip White purchased a $3 bottle of Texas Pete—which has a label featuring the famed lone white star of the Texas flag and a cartoon cowboy with a lasso— at a Ralph's grocery in Los Angeles. The suit states that White made the purchase while relying "upon the language and images displayed on the front label of the Product, and at the time of purchase understood the Product to be a Texas product," according to the complaint. "There is surprisingly nothing Texas about them," it continues. The complaint also alleges that the ingredients of the Louisiana-style hot sauce come from "sources outside of Texas."

The hot sauce, invented by a North Carolina man named Sam Garner, actually originated at a Winston-Salem barbecue restaurant in 1929, according to The Texas Pete website. The page cites a Dec. 5, 2013 article from the Triad Business Journal that reads: "With a name like Texas Pete, one would think the famed hot sauce is manufactured somewhere in the Lone Star state..."

According to the Texas Pete "About" page, Garner and his sons were thinking of what to name their hot sauce, a marketing advisor recommended the moniker "Mexican Joe" in order "to connote the piquant flavor reminiscent of the favorite foods of our neighbors to the south."

"'Nope! 'It's got to have an American name!'" the website claims Garner said in response. "Sam suggested they move across the border to Texas, which also had a reputation for spicy cuisine. Then he glanced at [his] son Harold whose nickname was 'Pete' and the Texas Pete cowboy was born."

In the suit, White claims that had he known the hot sauce wasn't made in Texas, he wouldn't have bought it. "By representing that its Texas Pete brand hot sauce products are Texas products, when they are not [T.W. Garner Food Co.] has cheated its way to a market-leading position in the $3 billion hot sauce industry at the expense of law-abiding competitors and consumers nationwide who desire authentic Texas hot sauce and reasonably, but incorrectly, believe that is what they are getting when they purchase Texas Pete," the complaint says. 

White's complaint asks the court to force Texas Pete to "change its name and brand and to pay up," according to WGHP-TV.

T.W. Garner Food Co. has until Nov. 10 to respond to the complaint.

Originally published on CHRON.