Animal Welfare and Organic Integrity
The Organic Consumers Association (“OCA”), a non-profit organization, filed suit against Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company, Unilever, alleging that Ben and Jerry’s misleads consumers to believe that its production practices are humane and environmentally responsible. The complaint alleges that Ben & Jerry’s marketing leads consumers to believe that all farmers that produce milk for its ice cream participate in Ben & Jerry’s “Caring Dairy” program and further leads consumers to believe that Ben & Jerry’s sources its milk exclusively from “Happy Cows” on sustainable farms.
Contrary to Ben & Jerry’s marketing representations, the complaint alleges that Ben & Jerry’s milk is sourced from inhumane industrial dairy operations. Further, the complaint alleges that chemical residue tests have detected the biocide glyphosate in several Ben & Jerry’s products. As a result of this deception, OCA seeks injunctive relief, including an order requiring Ben and Jerry’s to cease its misleading marketing practices, and to institute a corrective advertising campaign.
Organic Consumers Association, v. Ben & Jerry’s, et al.
- Law360, 7/11/17 – “Ben & Jerry’s Sources From Not-So-Happy Cows, Suit Says”
- OCA Press Release
The Organic Consumers Association, a non-profit organization, filed suit against Handsome Brook Farm® alleging that Handsome Brook Farm’s eggs labeled as “Pasture Raised” were, in fact, from producers not engaged in pasture-raising hens, and that some farms within Handsome Brook’s own farm network did not live up to its internal standards for pasture raising. The parties reached a resolution where Handsome Brook acknowledged shortcomings identified by OCA and implemented a new internal auditing program as well as third-party auditing, in coordination with OCA, for 18 months. This oversight is being conducted on a quarterly basis by an independent auditor who reviews Handsome Brook’s purchase-and-sale records, as well as records from Handsome Brook Farm’s network of egg farmers. This additional review of Handsome Brook’s operations will help ensure that it remains an honest producer and marketer of pasture-raised eggs.
Organic Consumers Association v. Handsome Brook Farm, LLC, et al.
- New York Times, 1/31/17 – “What to Make of Those Animal-Welfare Labels on Meat and Eggs”
- Legal NewsLine, 11/16/16 – “Egg distributor dealing with litigation after obtaining injunction”
- Cornucopia, 8/30/16 – “OCA Sues Handsome Brook Farm Over Pasture-Raised Claims”
- OCA Press Release
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit animal advocacy organization, filed a lawsuit against Hormel® Foods Corporation, alleging that the company is misleading consumers with their advertising of the Natural Choice® product line of lunch meats and bacon. The complaint alleges that, with the slogan “Make the Natural Choice” and repeated claims that its Natural Choice® products are “100% Natural” and “All-Natural,” Hormel® misleads consumers into believing that it does not raise animals in inhumane, industrial, pharmaceutical-driven factory farm conditions. However, the complaint further alleges, Hormel’s® “natural” meats actually come from the same pigs and the same giant, factory slaughterhouses that are used for the company’s other products, such as canned Spam®. Prior to filing the lawsuit, the Animal Legal Defense Fund exposed Hormel’s® factory farming practices through an undercover investigation of one of Hormel’s® largest suppliers. The investigation documented the suppliers’ treatment of the animals, including a lack of veterinary care, multiple days without food, and intense confinement. The Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief to end Hormel’s® deceptive marketing and advertising practices.
Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Hormel Foods Corporation
- Bloomberg, 6/30/2016 – “What’s ‘All Natural’ Meat? Hormel Is About to Find Out”
- The New Republic, 6/30/2016 – “The Stomach-Turning Truth Behind Hormel’s “Natural” Pork”
- Fox News, 7/1/2016 – “Hormel Sued Over Its ‘Misleading’ Use of the Term ‘Natural’ on Meat Products”
- Animal Legal Defense Fund Press Releases – “Hormel Sued for Deceptive & Misleading Advertising of So-called ‘Natural’ Products” and “Court Greenlights Deceptive Advertising Case Against Hormel “Natural Choice” Products”
Food and Water Watch (FWW) and the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), two non-profit organizations, filed suit against Pilgrim’s Pride, the nation’s second largest chicken producer, alleging that Pilgrim’s marketing representations deceptively lead consumers to believe that the birds used in its chicken products are fed “only natural ingredients” and “treated humanely,” and that the chicken products are produced in an environmentally responsible way.
Contrary to its marketing representations, the complaint alleges that Pilgrim’s Pride systematically raises, transports, and slaughters chickens in inhumane factory-farm conditions. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the chickens used in Pilgrim’s products are fed growth-promoting drugs and other unnatural substances, and confined in crowded disease-ridden facilities. The complaint further alleges that Pilgrim’s facilities use toxic chemicals and emit large amounts of pollutants into low-income, majority-minority communities
FWW and OCA seek injunctive relief, including an order requiring Pilgrim’s Pride to cease its misleading marketing practices, and to institute a corrective advertising campaign.
Food & Water Watch, et al., v. Pilgrim’s Pride.
- Whole Foods Magazine, 7/11/16 – “Post Holding’s Sued for False “Natural” Claims”
- Law360, 6/23/16 – “Post Foods Hit With 3 Spats Over ‘Natural’ Cereal Claims”
- Takepart, 6/23/16 – “Shredded Wheat: 100 Percent Whole Grain With a Touch of Weed Killer”
- Bloomberg, 7/07/19 – “Pilgrim’s Pride Sued Over ‘Natural’ Chicken Marketing”
- OCA Press Release
- FWW Press Release