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Minneapolis - Patrick and Caryn Hudspeth, an Indiana couple, have filed a lawsuit alleging that Target Stores, the Minneapolis-based retail giant, engaged in deceptive business practices by fraudulently selling its Archer Farms brand milk as "organic" when it was not. Earlier that day, they had withdrawn a previously-filed lawsuit which had named Target and also Aurora Dairy Corporation of Boulder, CO, doing business as Aurora Organic Dairy (AOD), as defendants. The plaintiffs' attorney, Joe Williams, said that AOD was not named in the latest lawsuit because his clients did business with Target, not with Aurora. "Our clients bought milk from Target. They are upset at Target," Williams said.
Estimated damages stemming from the lawsuit exceed $5 million.
Eight other class-action suits have been filed against Aurora Dairy Corporation, which produces USDA-certified "organic" milk for various retailers including Target and Wal-Mart.
In April, 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program (NOP) sent a notice of noncompliance to the company saying it had "willfully violated" 14 provisions of the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA). But later, Aurora reached a deal with USDA which kept the dairy's organic certifications intact. Aurora has maintained that the lawsuits are "without merit," and that its organic certifications "have always been and continue to be valid."
Target introduced its Archer Farms brand of "certified organic" foods in 2006. The company owns 1,443 stores, including over 150 SuperTarget stores, in 47 states. Target's annual sales are over $50 billion.
In another class-action suit relating to Aurora's organic milk production, Costco Wholesale Corporation, Safeway, Inc., AOD and Wild Oats Market, Inc., are to answer to summons on December 19, according to court documents entered on Tuesday.
More Articles on This Subject:
Organic Consumers Launch Nationwide Lawsuit in 27 States Against Aurora Organic Dairy for Violating Organic Standards
Waiter, There's a Big Corporation in My Organic Milk & Granola
New Organic Dairy Fraud Lawsuit Filed - This Time Against Target Corporation
Organic Consumers Association, December 7, 2007
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