A class action lawsuit was filed on November 2, 2012 against the grocery chain Whole Foods Market, alleging that the upscale store violated state consumer protection laws in marketing its “365 Everyday” line of goods. The plaintiff, California resident Robert Pratt, claims the arrays of products are knowingly labeled incorrectly in order to lure the health-conscious consumer. Under the law, mislabeled products cannot be legally manufactured, advertised, distributed, held, or sold.
Whole Foods is a company that is generally known as a purveyor of healthy products. It is the largest retailer of natural and organic foods in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The company has profited greatly in large part by recognizing its customers’ desire to maintain a healthy diet. The lawsuit alleges that Whole Foods Market knowingly took advantage of the public’s perception of its products as beneficial to one’s health. It has declared itself “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” that is held to “higher food safety standards” by the consumer.
Thus, the plaintiff asserts the misleading and fraudulent claims on the “365 Everyday” products, which include Organic Chicken Broth, Organic Ketchup, Instant Oatmeal, and various sodas. The labels of all of these products list “evaporated cane juice” as an ingredient. Yet this substance is not juice at all. It is a misleading term for sugar, the plaintiff contends.
Under the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), if one claim on a label is deemed misleading, the product must be deemed misbranded, and thus not able to be legally on the market. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges further misleading information on the “365 Everyday” line, including claims of “natural,” “all-natural,” and “naturale” goods, when artificial ingredients and chemically processed preservatives are components of the foods.
Article Type: Lawsuit