Three class actions filed in St. Clair County last week say that food items purchased in March from a recently opened market in Fairview Heights falsely claim they are "all natural."
The suits say that in spite of that claim, the products all contain a synthetic chemical - sodium acid pyrophosphate, or SAPP - which also is used to remove iron stains in leather products, as an oil drilling fluid and to de-feather poultry.
They also say that excessive intake of SAPP can lead to imbalanced levels of minerals in the body and osteoporosis.
"[T]he FDA has said (it) has no place in purportedly all natural products," the suits say.
Plaintiff Jamie Blankenship of St. Clair County brought two of the cases - one against 3 Fellers Bakery of Goochland, Va. over its Coffee Cake Bars and another against Grecian Delights Foods of Elk Grove Village over its Hand Stretched Naan flatbread.
Plaintiff Timothy Blankenship of St. Clair County is suing Dancing Deer Baking Co. of Boston over its All Natural Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.
Both plaintiffs say they made their purchases at Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, which opened in January. The store describes itself as offering "value-priced fresh, healthy, natural and organic" items.
Represented by David C. Nelson of Belleville and Matthew H. Armstrong of St. Louis, the plaintiffs say they seek no more than $75,000 per class member and $4,999,999 for the entire class - $1 less than a federal jurisdiction requirement.
They seek damages for the defendants' alleged "false, deceptive, unfair and misleading marketing and advertising" in violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
They say defendants are "taking advantage of a growing market of truly all natural products by labeling products as 'All Natural' that are not."
St. Clair County case numbers 15-L-254, 255, 256.