‘No antibiotics, ever’: Whole Foods sued over alleged false advertising

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An anti-factory farm nonprofit alongside a trio of customers sued Whole Foods on Tuesday, claiming the grocery chain used antibiotics in its beef products despite marketing them with the slogan ‘No ‘antibiotics, never’.

Activist group Farm Forward says independent testing has found antibiotics and other pharmaceutical residues in beef sold at Whole Foods, alleging that the Amazon subsidiary’s claims that it does not use antibiotics were false advertising, according to their complaint. The Farm Forward website states that their assignment is to “promote conscious food choices, reduce suffering in farm animals and advance sustainable agriculture”.

The non-profit group complaints that the use of antibiotics in meats is often unnecessary, furthering industry profits by forcing animals into unsanitary conditions, which makes drugs less effective as diseases adapt to the regular low doses administered as a preventive measure to animals in factory farms. Whole Foods currently markets at least 42 beef products as being antibiotic-free, charging a premium price for the moniker, according to the lawsuit.

Whole Foods says its “basic requirements” are stricter than those of its competitors and that “if it doesn’t meet our standards, we won’t sell it”. according to posting in the Quality Standards section of the Whole Foods website. These standards include a commitment to “no antibiotics, ever”, that animals requiring antibiotic treatment will be separated from their herd and will not be purchased by the grocer, that growth hormones will not be added to animals, that animal feed will lack animal-by-products and that cattle, sheep and goats will spend at least two-thirds of their lives on pasture.

A 2012 article remains online at Whole Foods website which claims that “our standard is clear: no antibiotics, EVER!”

Farm Forward has been campaigning for some time against the apparent use of antibiotics by Whole Foods, initially reporting the discovery of antibiotics on April 5, 2022, in a blog post on their website. In May, the organization accused the cities of Austin and Seattle, which are the headquarters of Whole Foods and Amazon respectively, unconstitutionally censored Farm Forward by refusing to run a public service announcement the activist group created before the annual meeting of shareholders of Amazon.

The group has strong ties to the kosher activist group Jewish Initiative For Animals (JIFA), with JIFA spun off from Farm Forward in 2016, according at JIFA. In April, the two groups commissioned the nonprofit chemical testing organization Health Research Institute to examine samples of Empire kosher chicken, criticize the company for the alleged use of pest control.

Aside from Whole Foods, the problem of grocers misrepresenting meat as “antibiotic-free” has become more prominent, after an April 7, 2022 study by professors at George Washington University found that more than 40% of feedlots that claimed to be antibiotic-free actually contained antibiotics, according at Forbes. Foods labeled as antibiotic-free can sell for a premium of up to $1 per pound.

Neither Farm Forward nor Whole Foods immediately responded to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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