A New York federal court has dismissed some claims while allowing others to continue in a lawsuit alleging Whole Foods Market Group Inc. misleads consumers by not using graham flour to produce or honey to sweeten its “honey graham crackers.” Campbell v. Whole Foods Mkt. Grp. Inc., No. 20-1291 (S.D.N.Y., entered February 2, 2021). The court found that the plaintiff adequately pleaded allegations that “the references to ‘honey’ and ‘graham’ on the product’s packaging are likely to lead a reasonable consumer to wrongly believe that these graham crackers contain more whole-grain flour than non-whole grain flour, and that honey is their predominant sweetener,” so claims under the New York General Business Obligation Law can continue.

The court dismissed a claim of negligent misrepresentation, finding the plaintiff “failed to allege the existence of a special relationship giving rise to a duty to speak on the part of the Defendant.” The plaintiff’s fraud and breach-of-warranty tort claims were similarly dismissed when the court found that the plaintiff failed to plead essential factors to those claims, and a Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act claim was dismissed because the plaintiff “does not plead the existence of a written warranty.” An unjust enrichment allegation was also dismissed as duplicative, and the court found that the plaintiff did not have standing to pursue injunctive relief.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.