Citing a Consumer Reports piece investigating the arsenic content of several bottled-water brands, three plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit alleging that Whole Foods Market Inc. sells water that “has some of the highest arsenic levels of any bottled water presently being marketed in the United States, with some bottles exceeding the maximum arsenic contamination levels allowed by federal and state law.” Berke v. Whole Foods Mkt. Inc., No. 19-7471 (C.D. Cal., filed August 28, 2019). The plaintiffs argue that Whole Foods charged a “hefty premium,” “especially as compared to tap water,” for a product it marketed as “some of the purest and most pristine water available in the U.S.” while it knew “that the product has been universally contaminated with arsenic, with some bottles containing the industry’s highest levels of arsenic for many years.” The plaintiffs seek class certification damages, restitution and attorney’s fees for alleged violations of California and Illinois consumer-protection statutes.

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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.

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