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Whole Foods Is Being Sued For Its Graham Crackers. Here's Why

On February 2, a federal judge ordered Whole Foods to face a class-action lawsuit for deceiving customers with its 365 Organic Honey Graham Crackers, according to Reuters. The cause of the complaint is that Whole Foods misled consumers by calling them honey graham crackers, thereby presenting a healthy image of honey-dipped crackers made from graham flour. The actual crackers are mainly made with non-whole grain flour and sugar (via Amazon). Also, the box displays a cracker dunked in honey, which emphasizes honey rather than the cane sugar primarily used to sweeten them.

"It is not implausible that consumers would understand the words on the box to say what they mean," U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods wrote, explaining the rationale behind his decision. However, he did disregard claims of fraud and negligence. He also stated that the complaint cannot demand changes to the packaging because they now knew the cracker's ingredients.

Whole Foods disagrees with the decision, calling the complaint "unreasonably literal" as they list the ingredients on the box. 

The graham cracker made by Graham from graham

"[This] judge did not know that the 'graham' in graham cracker referred to a type of flour: the crackers might have been named after a famous person named Graham," Judge Wood admitted.

In fact, the name "graham cracker" does refer to a Graham, specifically the Connecticut-born Sylvester Graham, according to Thought Co. In the early 1800s, Graham, a minister with strict ideas when it came to one's diet, made crackers from a coarsely ground wheat flour that people began to call "graham" after him. With this flour, he invented a special bread to, as Snopes attests, curb sexual desire. So, both the cracker and the flour originate from the minister.

Later on, however, the recipe became adulterated with sugar, shortening, and molasses, according to Bon Appetit: "Poor fanatical Sylvester, if only he knew the sugary treats his tasteless bread have evolved into." So, Whole Foods has a defense, but these details do not make the assumption that 365 Organic Honey Graham Crackers illustrated with extra honey are made with honey and graham "unreasonably literal."