Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market, the nation’s leading natural and organic grocery store chain, was slapped with a lawsuit by the state of California over selling pesticides.

The lawsuit, filed last Monday in Sacramento County Superior Court, claims that in April, the California Attorney General’s Office served Whole Foods Market with investigative subpoenas over the suspicion of unregistered pesticide products. Whole Foods allegedly responded to the claim with objections to all requests for documentation. The chain then failed to produce any information by the time requested from the attorney general’s office.

According to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the healthy food chain has been selling four products that contain pesticides, but it hasn’t followed state law and registered the chemical products. And, according to the DPR, the chain has had more than a year to correct the situation. “Put it this way:  it’s not news to Whole Foods,” DPR spokesperson Charlotte Fadipe told ABC News 10 in Sacramento.

Four products have been named in the lawsuit, including the store’s private label 365 brand of Natural Pine Pellets cat litter, Purely Botanical cat flea spray, Purely Botanical dog flea spray and Enviroman Bugs R Done insect spray.

A subsidiary of Whole Foods Market, Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Food Market, is reportedly also selling the unregistered products at its California locations as well.

According to California law, the sate collects 2.1 cents per dollar on all sales of registered pesticide products. Selling unregistered pesticide products can result in as much as $10,000 fines per violation.

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Image: bryce edwards