Source - Food & Beverage Litigation Update | Issue 747

Plaintiff Challenges “Clean” Panera Food

A consumer has filed a putative class action alleging that Panera Bread Co., or St. Louis Bread Co., markets its products as “100% clean” but sells products with ingredients “that are artificial, chemical, and/or synthetic preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, and colors.” Sally v. Panera Bread Co., No. 20-1068 (St. Louis Cir. Ct., filed August 13, 2020). The complaint asserts that multiple products contain preservatives, including ascorbic acid, citric acid, potassium sorbate and tocopherols. “[A] preservative as defined by the FDA is a substance that ‘tends’ to prevent or retard the deterioration of foods,” the complaint states. “Thus, it is not necessary that it function as a preservative in every single instance for it to qualify as a preservative according to the FDA’s definition, so long as this is its general tendency.” The plaintiff seeks class certification, refunds, injunctive relief, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and costs for an alleged violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.

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