A Texas federal court has dismissed multidistrict litigation (MDL) alleging that Whole Foods Market Inc. lists incorrect amounts of sugar on its yogurt labels, concluding the Consumer Reports data relied on by the plaintiffs did not meet federal standards. In re Whole Foods Mkt. Inc. Greek Yogurt Mktg. & Sales Practices Litig., MDL No. 2588 (W.D. Tex., Austin Div., order entered February 16, 2016). The consumers claimed Whole Foods’ store-brand yogurt contains 11.4 grams of sugar per serving, while the listed sugar content is 2 grams. Details about some of the 11 consolidated lawsuits appear in Issues 533 and 534 of this Update.
Whole Foods argued that the consumers’ claims were preempted by the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) because the scientific testing techniques used by Consumer Reports failed to comply with the testing methodology determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The court agreed, noting that the plaintiffs “expressly plead that Consumer Reports used a different testing methodology” of analyzing six samples rather than the mandated “composite of twelve subsamples taken from twelve randomly chosen shipping cases.” Accordingly, the court found that all state law claims were preempted because the plaintiffs sought to impose liability inconsistent with the FDCA and dismissed all claims.