According to a putative class action removed to Arkansas federal court, Whole Foods mislabels several of its 365 Everyday Value brand products as “organic” or “all natural” despite containing synthetic ingredients. Stafford v. Whole Foods Market Cal., No. 14-420 (U.S. Dist. Ct., E.D. Ark., removed July 22, 2014). Originally filed in Arkansas state court in June, the complaint accuses several products of mislabeling—for example, the plaintiff says, the 365 Everyday Value soft drink contains carbon dioxide, citric acid, tartaric acid, and caramel coloring despite its “all natural” label. Whole Foods argued to the state court that the potential class contains more than 100 people who seek over $5 million in damages, so the case was removed to federal court. Alleging that Whole Foods violated Arkansas labeling laws and breached warranties, the plaintiff seeks class certification, damages and interest.
A similar case filed in New Jersey state court alleges that Breyers, a subsidiary of Unilever United States, falsely labels its ice cream as “all natural” while including cocoa processed with alkali (Dutch-process cocoa), which contains the artificial ingredient potassium carbonate. Jefferson v. Conopco, No. L-7025-14 (Super. Ct. N.J., Bergen Cnty., filed July 16, 2014). The plaintiff accuses Breyers of violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and the Truth in Consumer Contract for labeling its ice cream as “all natural” despite its inclusion of cocoa that has been alkalized, which the complaint argues the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes as a non-natural process and requires the statement “processed with alkali” or the more common name of the specific alkali ingredient. The plaintiff seeks class certification, statutory and compensatory damages, interest, and attorneys’ fees.