Safeway Sued for Using Preservative in “100% Natural” Products
A California resident has filed a putative class action on behalf of statewide and nationwide classes alleging that Safeway, Inc. labels and promotes its Open Nature waffle products as “100% Natural” while using the synthetic chemical preservative, alternatively referred to as sodium acid pyrophosphate and disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, as an ingredient. Richards v. Safeway, Inc., No. 13-4317 (N.D. Cal., filed September 18, 2013). According to the plaintiff, the chemical “has various applications—from its use in leather treatment to remove iron stains on hides during processing, to stabilizing hydrogen peroxide solutions against reduction, to facilitating hair removal in hog slaughter, to feather removal from birds in poultry slaughter, to use in petroleum production.” According to the plaintiff, the ingredient is not listed on the front of the package with the other ingredients.
Claiming that he relied on the company’s “100% Natural” claims in purchasing products for which he paid a premium, the plaintiff alleges, as to the California class only, statutory deceptive advertising practices, violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act, breach of express warranty, and statutory unfair business practices. As to both putative classes, the plaintiff alleges common law fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and quasi-contract/unjust enrichment. He seeks declaratory and injunctive relief; corrective advertising; restitution and disgorgement; an accounting; compensatory, punitive and exemplary damages; attorney’s fees; costs; and interest.