Additional chemicals were used in the manufacturing process for vinegar made from dried apples, but neither party alleged that this affected the vinegar. Other than this and the difference in apples, the manufacturing process was the same. The trial judge, who tried samples of the vinegar at issue and apple cider vinegar made from fresh apples, concluded that there were only slight differences in appearance and taste. Chemical comparison yielded similar results for both liquids.
There was no claim that vinegar from dried apples was of inferior quality. However, the court found first that the dried apple vinegar was not identical to vinegar as commonly understood—that produced from fresh ingredients. Second, fresh apples contain the apple juice that is normally used in the production of apple cider vinegar, whereas Douglas Packing used water as a substitute ingredient. Finally, the court found that "made from selected apples" misled the reader into thinking that the apples were fresh instead of dried. These three issues—an imitation under the same name, false or misleading ingredient listing, and misleading labelling—were all a part of the Food and Drugs Act's section defining "misbranded". For this reason, the Supreme Court found that the apple cider was misbranded under the statute.