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·         Pilgrim’s Pride Sued Over ‘Natural’ Chicken Labels

·         Food & Water Watch and Organic Consumers Association (OCA) Sue Pilgrim's Pride for Deceptive Advertising



Pilgrim’s Pride Sued Over ‘Natural’ Chicken Labels

The litigation follows a complaint filed in December with the Federal Trade Commission about its “humane” animal treatment claims.


By Lydia Mulvany and Deena Shanker, Bloomberg

February 7, 2019


American consumers willingly pay more for foods labeled as “natural,” “organic” or “humane.” Food companies took notice long ago, adding such pledges to all manner of products. But it can be challenging for shoppers to figure out whether those promises are real or empty branding.


A lawsuit against chicken giant Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. filed by advocacy groups Food & Water Watch Inc. and Organic Consumers Association turns on this very question. And they filed it in what’s arguably one of the most consumer-friendly courts in America.


At issue is the Greeley, Colorado-based company’s marketing claims that its birds are fed “only natural ingredients,” treated humanely and produced in an environmentally responsible way, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in Washington.


The company’s practices don’t live up to those claims, the plaintiffs alleged. The birds live in crowded, unsanitary warehouses, are abused by employees and have debilitating health conditions due to their breed, which was developed to grow fast, according to court papers. They’re raised with the help of routine use of antibiotics to promote growth and fed genetically modified organisms, the advocacy groups alleged in the filing.


The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction and corrective advertising. Pilgrim’s Pride didn’t immediately respond to requests emailed Wednesday seeking comment.


Pilgrim’s Pride now faces challenges about its labeling on multiple fronts. In December, the company was the subject of a complaint filed by the Humane Society of the United States with the Federal Trade Commission, which said Pilgrim’s Pride was “scalding fully conscious chickens” as a result of its methods for slaughter, yet stating on its website at the time that its birds were being produced “as humanely as possible. ”


At the time, Cameron Bruett, a spokesman for Pilgrim’s Pride, a subsidiary of Brazilian meat processing giant JBS SA, rejected the Humane Society’s allegations.


“Pilgrim’s is committed to the well-being of the poultry under our care,” Bruett wrote in an email. “We welcome the opportunity to defend our approach to animal welfare against these false allegations.” 


The language cited by the Humane Society subsequently disappeared from multiple places on the company’s website...


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Food & Water Watch and Organic Consumers Association (OCA) Sue Pilgrim's Pride for Deceptive Advertising


SOURCE Organic Consumers Association

via Longview News-Journal (TX) - Feb 7, 2019


WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Food & Water Watch and Organic Consumers Association (OCA) have sued Pilgrim's Pride Corp. for deceptive marketing and advertising of Pilgrim's Pride chicken products. The suit was brought in D.C. Superior Court, under the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act.


Nonprofits Food & Water Watch and OCA, represented by Richman Law Group and Animal Equality, allege that Pilgrim's falsely claims that the birds used in its products are fed "only natural ingredients," "treated humanely" and produced in an environmentally responsible way, when in fact Pilgrim's systematically raises, transports and slaughters chickens in inhumane factory-farm conditions that include the routine use of antibiotics, synthetic chemical disinfectants, genetically modified crops growth-promoting drugs, and other unnatural substances.


"Pilgrim's Pride is using slick marketing tactics to deceive consumers," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "There is nothing natural, humane or environmentally responsible about its operations. Pilgrim's Pride looks after its profits—not the planet."


Ronnie Cummins, OCA international director, said: "When consumers read that Pilgrim's chickens are fed 'only natural ingredients' they don't expect those ingredients to include antibiotics, genetically modified grains or growth-promoting drugs. Consumers also don't expect a 'humanely raised' bird to have lived its life crammed into a disease-ridden warehouse with no access to the outdoors. It's time for Pilgrim's to clean up its act, or come clean on its marketing claims."


The groups also accuse Pilgrim's of the abuse of chickens by Pilgrim's Pride contractors and employees, the use of toxic chemicals and the emission of large amounts of pollutants, and the use of artificially selected fast-growing, breast-heavy chicken breeds that have chronic and debilitating health conditions.


Complaint available on request.


Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people's lives and protects our environment.


Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is a grassroots nonprofit consumer advocacy organization representing a network of more than 1 million consumers. Visit


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SOURCE Organic Consumers Association


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