Class Claims Yogurt Label Is Deceptive


LOS ANGELES (CN) - Whole Foods Market claims its 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt has 2 grams of sugar, though it has nearly six times that amount, customers claim in a federal class action.
     Lead plaintiff Chas Jackson claims that consumer watchdogs tested the yogurt and discovered it contains 11.4 grams of sugar per 170 gram serving, almost six times the amount that appears on the label.
     The claim follows a similar legal action against Whole Foods Market in Philadelphia, where the supermarket has pulled the yogurt from its shelves.
     "By comparison, according to the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] the sugar content of an ice cream sandwich is 13 grams; only slightly more than the 11.4 gram sugar content of 'Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt,'" the California lawsuit states.
     The supermarket allegedly "brags" on its website that a professional dietician reviews each food label for accuracy.
     "Unless this statement on defendant's website is false, then Whole Foods Market was fully aware of the contents of its store brand plain Greek yogurt and of the fact that the yogurt's actual sugar content was dramatically higher than what is stated on the label," the complaint states.
     According to the lawsuit, even yogurts that contain no added sweeteners naturally exceed more than 2 grams of sugar per serving.
     Jackson claims that Whole Foods mislabeled the product to gain a competitive edge and to "induce" customers to buy it.
     "Despite the test results published by Consumer Reports, Whole Foods Market has not pulled the mislabeled yogurt off its shelves and continues to sell the mislabeled product to consumers in its California stores every day, bearing the same inaccurate label," the complaint states.
     Jackson seeks class certification and damages for breach of warrant, false advertising, fraudulent business practices, and violations of the California Business and Professions Code.
     He is represented by Todd Friedman of Beverly Hills.
     Whole Foods told Philly.com on Wednesday that the store is investigating the claims.
     "While we continue to investigate Consumer Reports claims, we have removed our 365 Everyday Value Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt from store shelves," Whole Foods spokeswoman Katie Malloy said. "However, we offer a variety of other nonfat plain Greek yogurt options for our shoppers to choose from."