Peymon Khaghani, Jason Rose, Sara Safari and animal welfare nonprofit organization Farm Forward filed the lawsuit at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in Santa Ana, California.
Farm Forward said its mission includes efforts to "promote conscientious food choices, reduce farmed animal suffering and advance sustainable agriculture." (Related: America's poultry giants have sold tens of thousands of meat products contaminated with DEADLY BACTERIA.)
The plaintiffs argue that Whole Foods' slogan is a lie because Farm Forward's testing has found that the grocery chain's beef does contain antibiotics.
Whole Foods markets at least 42 of its beef products as supposedly being free of antibiotics and charges consumers higher price premiums based on its claims.
Neither Whole Foods nor Amazon, the supermarket chain's parent company, have immediately responded to requests for comments regarding the lawsuit. But Whole Foods CEO John Mackey reportedly unsubscribed from Farm Forward's email list "after having been a board member and mailing list recipient for over a decade."
In April 2022, Farm Forward released results of a program that tested Whole Foods meat for antibiotic residues. Some of the residues come from antibiotics that can be used to promote animal growth, and came from products that were labeled "organic" and "antibiotic-free."
The factory farms Whole Foods relies on for its mass-produced, processed meats are using these antibiotics to keep their animals alive and healthy despite living their entire lives in crowded and unsanitary conditions.
Farm Forward's findings were bolstered by recent studies that provide empirical evidence that a significant percentage of the cattle in the Animal Welfare Certified program, which Whole Foods uses, come from feed yards where testing strongly suggests that the animals kept there are regularly given antibiotics.
"We have hard evidence not only that meat on Whole Foods shelves could be marketed deceptively as antibiotic-free, but that the problem extends to the entire industry," said Farm Forward Executive Director Andrew DeCoriolis. "Industry insiders know that meat is being marketed deceptively as 'antibiotic-free.' Rather than thoroughly test to ensure the accuracy of its own antibiotic claims, Whole Foods has profited while deceiving its customers."
Farm Forward warned that the presence of antibiotics in the beef creates "serious health risks," as it contributes to the creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that consumers would eventually ingest and which may cause infections that existing medicine would not be able to treat effectively.
The nonprofit noted that Whole Foods has successfully persuaded most of its consumer base that its products are the best and that the farms that supply meat to the supermarket chain provide significantly better living conditions to their animals than they actually do.
Farm Forward and the other plaintiffs want Whole Foods to verify with evidence that subtherapeutic and growth-promoting antibiotics are not present in any aspect of its meat supply chain. The nonprofit also wants Whole Foods to be honest with the public about which claims the chain can and can't guarantee.
Furthermore, Farm Forward wants retailers implicated in profiting from this alleged act of consumer deception to fund an independent agency that will work with consumers and in their interests to assist supermarkets in fighting misinformation coming from the meat industry.
Lastly, the plaintiffs want Whole Foods to pay an unspecified amount in compensatory and punitive damages to shoppers who overpaid.
Learn more about the unhealthy chemicals being put into processed foods at CleanFoodWatch.com.
Watch this episode of the "Health Ranger Report" as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, discusses how a proposed meat processing facility with artificial intelligence systems is raising eyebrows.