Toxin Free USA has filed a lawsuit against CAVA Group, a Mediterranean fast-food restaurant chain, for what it says is its misleading food marketing and business practices.

The lawsuit alleges that the restaurant chain promotes its products as ‘healthy’ and its business as environmentally sustainable. It also claims that it is ‘taking care of…the Earth.’

In contrast to CAVA’s marketing claims, testing by Toxin Free found the presence of multiple biocides such as glyphosate, imazalil, isoprothiolane, piperonyl butoxide, tebuconazole, and tricyclazole in CAVA’s food products.

The glyphosate pesticide in particular has been associated with health and environmental hazards in more than 1,000 peer-reviewed studies.

Furthermore, Toxic-Free Future’s laboratory examinations of CAVA’s grain and salad bowls unveiled elevated concentrations of organic fluorine, suggesting the presence of per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS).

PFAS is a class of toxic chemicals associated with autoimmune diseases, cancer, hormonal disruptions, and reduced fertility, as well as adverse developmental impacts in infants, as confirmed by peer-reviewed studies.

Consumer Reports conducted further testing and also discovered increased levels of organic fluorine in these bowls.

PFAS chemicals can be transferred from food packaging to the food itself, potentially leading to exposure to these toxic chemicals.

Food packaging containing PFAS is also considered not to be suitable for composting purposes as it causes pollution of soil and water when discarded in landfills.

Toxin Free executive director Diana Reeves said: “Food and products containing toxic PFAS chemicals and toxic pesticides such as glyphosate are neither healthy nor environmentally sustainable.

“If CAVA really wants to ‘take care of the Earth’, the company must remove these chemicals from their products. CAVA must stop greenwashing.”