Whole Foods was once a single Austin natural food store in 1980 to its current national staple and a subsidiary of Amazon.
Whole Foods is facing a class-action lawsuit over its use of “raised without antibiotics” labels on meat and poultry, according to court documents filed in United States District Court in New York.
The case charges the grocer with misleading consumers about the meat it sells, under false advertising claims, which could represent a violation of federal law.
According to the suit, beyond simply being misleading, if false, the "no antibiotics" claim also means consumers "were economically harmed" since Whole Foods' certified beef commands a premium price, with one product being 28 percent higher than conventional meat at other retailers.
Farm Forward originally announced its findings in April, writing that independent testing had detected monensin in meat labeled as containing "no antibiotics." "The use of monensin is prohibited within the USDA Organic program and by Global Animal Partnership's (GAP's) Animal Welfare Certified program, which certifies all meat sold in Whole Foods stores.
Farm Forward was part of the Global Animal Partnership's board, but resigned and began testing Whole Foods products after their concerns of misleading claims were brushed aside.
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Whole Foods, alleging that the grocery chain has been selling beef that contains antibiotics. The lawsuit claims that Whole Foods' "No Antibiotics, Ever" campaign is false and misleading and that the company's products are not in compliance with its own standards.
"We have hard evidence not only that meat on Whole Foods shelves could be marketed deceptively as antibiotic free, but that the problem extends to the entire industry," Andrew deCoriolis, Farm Forward's executive director
As a result, not only does the lawsuit "seek an injunction requiring Whole Foods to correct and clarify its past and ongoing misrepresentations and omissions," but also "to recover consumer overpayments for Beef Products due to Whole Foods' false advertising."