The Humane Society of the United States filed a complaint against National Pasteurized Eggs Friday, citing false advertising on the company's Davidson's Safest Choice brand “all-natural” egg carton labels. The complaint calls upon the Federal Trade Commission to examine possible violations of false-advertising law committed by the egg producers.
The logo depicts white chickens in green pastures with a red barn in the background, an image that the Humane Society argues is likely misleading to consumers.
“These chickens look as if they're frolicking in a gorgeous meadow, when the opposite is the case, when they're actually confined inside a cage with less space than an iPad to live on,” says Josh Balk, senior food policy director of farm animal protection for the Humane Society.
This is particularly important given the increased attention that animal welfare is receiving from consumers.
“Consumers are concerned about the treatment of farm animals, and to take advantage of that with this false imagery is unconscionable,” says Balk. “I think it goes to show that egg companies are realizing that consumers are outraged regarding the treatment that hens undergo in cages, and while many are shifting away from that practice altogether, some are still trying to deceive the public as to where those eggs are actually coming from, and that's certainly the case with this company.”
In addition to the image, the term “all-natural” contributes to the misleading effect of the logo on the egg carton labels, Matt Prescott, senior food policy director for the Humane Society, told Saint Louis Post-Dispatch.
While eggs produced by hens raised in battery cages used to be the norm in the U.S., most major American retailers and chain restaurants, including Costco, Walmart, and Denny's, have committed to a move towards 100 percent cage-free eggs with a specific timeline. This trend began after McDonald’s committed to switching to cage-free eggs by 2025 in September of 2015.
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