Engrossed in yet another legal battle, Whole Foods is being accused of falsely labeling the ingredients in the grocer’s 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt, according to a report by Courthouse News Service.
The same lawyers who sued Subway over the lengths of their foot-long sandwiches have filed a lawsuit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, claiming that Whole Foods is selling yogurt with nearly six times the sugar listed on the label.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Philly residents Carmine Clemente and Samantha Kilgallen, reported Philly.com.
“I find it hard to believe they don’t know what’s in their yogurt,” said Joseph Osefchen, a lawyer employed with the Center City and Marlton, New Jersey, firm DeNittis Osefchen.
“It’s a store brand. Whole Foods makes it, advertises it and makes the label,” he added.
Consumer advocacy groups discovers big discrepancy between the advertised sugar content, and the actual sugar content in Whole Foods 365 Plain Greek Yogurt
In July, Consumer Reports released results they obtained while testing plain Greek yogurts for their taste and nutrition. Nutrition experts noticed that the sugar content in Whole Food’s Plain Greek Yogurt was substantially lower than other brands.
Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union, an independent, non-profit organization formed in 1936 that’s focused on serving consumers through unbiased product testing, research and advocacy.
After analyzing six samples of the 365 yogurt from six different lots, researchers discovered that the product had more than five times the amount of sugar listed — 11.4 grams compared to the advertised 2 grams per cup, according to Consumer Reports.
Food testers say the newly discovered sugar content is closer to other similar products that contain a range of 5 to 10 grams of sugar per serving.
Following the release of the investigation’s results, Whole Foods stores in California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania have also been hit with class action lawsuits requesting that the Texas-based grocer change the product’s label and reimburse customers who bought the yogurt believing that it was low in sugar. Consumer Union did not lead the lawsuits brought on in other states.
In response to the allegations, Whole Foods removed their 365 Everyday Value Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt from store shelves while the grocer investigates Consumer Report‘s latest findings.
“We are working with our vendor to understand the testing results you have provided. They are not consistent with testing results we have relied upon from reputable third-party labs. We take this issue seriously and are investigating the matter, and will of course take corrective action if any is warranted,” said Whole Foods.
Consumer Reports noted that the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt is still nutritious and full of protein and calcium; however, correct labels regarding sugar is critically important for people that are diabetic.
Providing foods free of harmful chemicals and additives such as high-fructose corn syrup and artificial colors is purportedly one of Whole Foods’ main objectives. In fact, “Health Starts Here” is one the company’s leading slogans.
Attorneys spearheading the latest lawsuit against Whole Foods say the grocer better live up to their slogan.
“Basically, they’re saying, ‘Our product has half as much sugar as our lowest competitor,’” Osefchen said. “If you’re going to sell yourself as the health-food grocery store, you ought to be right.
“Every time, I expect to see a stock boy pulling it off the shelves. For diabetics, it’s a matter of life and death to monitor your sugar intake,” he added.
If the lawsuit is successful, all Pennsylvanians who bought the yogurt could be getting their money back.