A federal lawsuit has been filed against Los Angeles-based Beyond Meat and Ethan Brown, CEO, alleging false advertising and unfair competition.
The suit, filed in the Central District of California, claims that Beyond Meat overstates the protein value of its products by up to 30 percent and has falsely represented that its products are free from “synthetic” ingredients.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Don Lee Farms, a plant-based and meat protein manufacturer for national food brands and the previous supplier of the Beyond Burger and Beyond Meat products.
The suit alleges that Beyond Meat’s false claims “are central to Beyond’s pitch to customers, business partners, retailers and investors.” The complaint quotes Ethan Brown as stating that Beyond Meat’s “commitment to all natural” is at the very “core of [their] company,” but goes on to allege that “Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burgers contain ‘methylcellulose’” – an ingredient that the scientific literature recognizes “does not occur naturally and is synthetically produced.”
The complaint also attaches testing results “conducted by an internationally accredited laboratory that followed rigorous testing methods.” According to the complaint, this testing shows that Beyond Meat has inflated its protein claims by upwards of 30 percent and has “caused misbranded goods to be sold throughout the supply chain.”
Additionally, in a separate lawsuit, Beyond Meat and Beyond Meat’s senior management team are being sued for breach of contract and fraud. The fraud claim contains allegations that it deliberately altered and excluded important information from a food safety consultant’s report before it was sent to Don Lee Farms.
Trial in that case is set for Sept. 26 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
Established in California in 1982, Don Lee Farms is a family-owned producer of fresh and frozen foods. Don Lee Farms makes plant-based and meat proteins for more than 10,000 markets, clubs, foodservice and school foodservice locations. Consumer products and end items are sold at major retailers nationwide such as Costco Wholesale, Whole Foods Markets, Trader Joes, Kroger, Publix, HEB and Albertsons Companies under the Don Lee Farms label, private brands and under brands of its partners.
For more information, visit donleefarms.com.
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