Whole Foods is once again on the receiving end of a lawsuit. This time the company is being accused of misleading customers about its "humane meat." Animal rights group PETA announced today in a press release that it has filed a class-action lawsuit with a customer for allegedly violating California consumer protection laws. PETA alleges that the grocery chain is tricking customers into paying higher prices for meat raised on farms that differ very little from industry standards. The suit further contends that Whole Foods rarely audits suppliers, leading to frequent non-compliance.
The news comes after the animal rights organization released a grim report on one of the farms supplying the asparagus water peddler. The PETA investigation revealed that Sweet Stem Farm in Pennsylvania had cut out pasture raising its pig in order to meet increasing demand for sustainably raised pork. Contrary to the idyllic picture of happy animals Whole Foods touts, pigs were found in small cages with open wounds.
The grocery store's legal team already has its hands full this year. In June, an investigation revealed that New York's Whole Foods outposts were systematically overcharging customers. Not only did a Bronx resident file a lawsuit but the company has also been hit with federal charges that it violated securities law. Last year, the chain paid more than $800,000 to settle an overcharging lawsuit in California. In a similar case of false advertising, customers filed a class-action suit against the company for advertising its bread as "baked fresh" when it was in fact par-baked and frozen.