KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Some of the nation's biggest retailers and grocery chains sold organic milk that wasn't organic, according to recently filed lawsuits.
The companies include Costco, Wal-Mart, Target, and Safeway. The federal complaints focus on the stores' sale of milk from Colorado-based Aurora organic dairy.
The stores sell Aurora's milk under their own in-house brand names, such as Costco's Kirkland and Target's Archer Farms. It comes in cartons marked USDA Organic, typically with pictures of pastures or other rural scenes.
The lawsuits seek class-action status on behalf of people who bought the milk, and ask for their money back as well as punitive damages and attorneys' fees.
Consumers typically pay more for organic food because they believe it is free of hormones or pesticides and produced with greater respect for the environment.