Whole Foods ‘Natural’|Labeling Suits Dismissed

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — Whole Foods Market has settled two lawsuits accusing it of falsely labeling its baked goods as “all natural.”
     Lead plaintiff Mary Garrison sued the grocery chain in 2013 and 2014, saying she paid premium prices for cookies, muffins and other goods that were falsely labeled as organic.
     U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in March refused to dismiss the suits, despite scant evidence on when the plaintiffs bought the products.
     The lawsuits separately addressed claims over gluten-free and non-gluten free baked goods, which contained a synthetic additive called sodium acid pyrophosphate.
     Garrison and Whole Foods reached an agreement during a settlement conference with U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte on June 7, Chhabria wrote Thursday in an order dismissing both cases without prejudice.
     The plaintiffs never filed a motion for class certification. Therefore, only the two named plaintiffs — Mary and Grace Garrison — are expected to receive compensation.
     Garrison’s attorney, Matthew Bainer of Scott Cole & Associates in Oakland, did not return an email seeking comment Thursday.
     Attorneys Joseph Oranzo and Jay Connolly of Seyfarth Shaw in San Francisco, representing Whole Foods, did not return phone calls on Thursday.
     Whole Foods Northern California spokeswoman Beth Krausse had no immediate response to an email seeking comment on the settlement Thursday afternoon.

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