Court Tentatively Approves $8.25 Million Settlement in Whole Foods Kombucha Class Action
A federal court in California has given preliminary approval to a proposed $8.25-million settlement of a class action claiming that kombucha tea products manufactured by Millennium Products, Inc. and sold at Whole Foods were mislabeled. Retta v. Millennium Products, No. 15-1801 (C.D. Cal., order entered January 31, 2017). The plaintiffs claimed that the kombucha labels (i) used the term “antioxidant” when the product contained none; (ii) used the term “non-alcoholic” when the fermented tea product allegedly contained alcohol in excess of the amount permitted for nonalcoholic beverages; and (iii) understated the amount of sugar in the product.
In its order, the court granted class certification and approved monetary and injunctive relief, including Millennium’s agreements to (i) add warning labels that the product contains alcohol and must be refrigerated because it is under pressure; (ii) conduct regular sample testing to ensure the accuracy of the products’ sugar content; and (iii) adopt any new industry methodology for testing the alcohol content of kombucha beverages, if one is developed.