Lawsuits Over Whole Foods Greek Yogurt Labels Centralized In Texas

All class action lawsuits accusing Whole Foods Market Inc. of deceptively advertising its Greek yogurt as being low in sugar will be consolidated as part of a federal MDL, or multidistrict litigation, centralizing all cases before one judge in the Western District of Texas. 

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) issued a transfer order (PDF) last week, indicating that all Whole Foods greek yogurt class action lawsuits will be consolidated for pretrial proceedings before U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks to reduce duplicative discovery, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

All of the claims involve similar allegations that incorrect nutritional information was provided about Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt, indicating that the product had only two grams of sugar. However, according to an investigation by Consumer Reports in July, the Whole Foods yogurt actually has more than 11 grams on average.

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The investigation has sparked at least four Whole Foods Market class action lawsuits. The lawsuits accuse the popular grocery store chain of deceptive advertising and seek to represent all customers who purchased the Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Plain Greek Yogurt in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The MDL Panel noted that in addition to the four currently filed Whole Foods Greek Yogurt lawsuits, there are four other potential tag-along cases pending, and it is widely anticipated that additional claims will be filed in the coming months and years. Plaintiffs and Whole Foods supported consolidation.

“These actions, all of which are putative class actions, share factual issues arising from highly similar allegations that Whole Foods 365 Greek Yogurt contains much more sugar than stated on its label, that defendants’ marketing of the Yogurt was false and deceptive, and that defendants were negligent in testing the Yogurt, and in ensuring that the label was accurate,” the JPML determined.

The panel indicated that centralizing the cases will also prevent inconsistent pretrial rulings from different Courts on class action certification and other issues.

Consumer Reports Greek Yogurt Testing

On July 17, Consumer Reports revealed the results of testing conducted on the Whole Foods yogurt brand. The testing was sparked by disbelief among food experts that it was possible to have only 2 grams of sugar in even fat-free plain Greek yogurt. They tested six samples from six different lots and found that they actually contained 11.4 grams of sugar on average.

The group said that Whole Foods’ history and claims of care and attention to food content made the deceptive marketing even more “bewildering.”

At that time, Whole Foods officials told Consumer Reports that they were working with a vendor to understand the situation and that Consumer Reports’ results are not consistent with those done through third-party laboratories. Officials told the group they will take corrective action if Consumer Reports’ numbers stand up.

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1 Comments

  • robert&brenda westDecember 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    we ate this yogurt trying to eat healthy it turn to a nightmare because my husband is diabetic his sugar levels was over 600 he had 2 seizures

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