Federal Trade Commission Complaint Targets Egg Supplier Ads
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has filed a complaint with the FTC against a national egg marketer alleging false animal welfare advertising.
Animal raising claims, such as “pasture raised” have come under increased scrutiny in recent years. For example, as previously discussed on this blog, the term “pasture raised” was the subject of a recent complaint filed against an egg retailer alleging that its “pasture raised” eggs are actually being sourced from supplier farms that provide limited indoor space or outdoor access for its birds, thereby falling short of consumer expectations.
On October 14, 2016, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that National Pasteurized Eggs, marketed in grocery stores nationwide, is misrepresenting how its eggs are produced. The complaint alleges that the egg cartons prominently depict lush open pastures, a red barn and free-roaming hens despite eggs in those cartons being sourced from hens living in battery cages such that the birds cannot “spread their wings, venture outside, breathe “fresh” air, or see natural sunlight”.
This latest case represents yet another example of the ongoing regulatory and litigation risk faced by food companies responding to increasing consumer demand for “clean label” foods, particularly in cases where a marketing claim is not federally defined.