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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Whole Foods Market Sued Over Antibiotic-Free Beef Claim


Activist organization, Farm Forward has filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, CA., alleging deceptive advertising by Whole Foods Market, a subsidiary of Amazon Inc.  The plaintiffs including three bellwether consumers and Farm Forward allege that antibiotic and drug residues were detected in beef purchased from Whole Foods in San Francisco, Chicago, and Salt Lake City over a two-year period.


Whether the detected residues were at or below FDA limits is probably irrelevant to the claim since Whole Foods explicitly advertises specific beef products as “no antibiotics ever”.  Whole Foods Market charges a premium in excess of 25 percent for claimed antibiotic-free beef compared to other categories.


The complaint included, “Whole Foods markets beef with the slogan ‘no antibiotics ever’ and reinforces this promotional message that it beef is antibiotic-free with other similar representations at retail stores, through online marketing and on product packaging.” 


The plaintiffs require Whole Foods to amend marketing claims if supply chains include animals receiving antibiotics. As expected, both compensatory and punitive damages covering a large class of consumers is demanded.


Copyright © 2022 Simon M. Shane