As these preferences grow, more companies are altering their marketing to home in on new standards and expectations, but two public interest groups allege some labels aren’t what they claim to be.
Food Water & Watch (FWW) and Organic Consumers Association (OCA) are suing Tyson Foods, the world’s second-largest processor of chicken, beef and pork, over deceptive advertising on their website, food labels and social media. The non-profits claim the food giant misleads consumers by marketing their poultry as products that are produced under environmentally responsible and humane standards.
In a 61-page lawsuit, the FWW and the OCA report multiple undercover investigations from both non-profit organizations and government entities that contradict these claims, alleging Tyson and its contractors breed, slaughter and transport their chickens in ‘disease-ridden factory farm conditions.’
Some of these practices include the routine use of anti-parasitic drugs, injections of chicken eggs with formaldehyde, production of chicken contaminated by antibiotic-resistant superbugs, washing products with hazardous chemical disinfectants and crowding tens of thousands of chickens into massive industrial warehouses.
In addition, the lawsuit states from 2016 to 2018 the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found evidence of inadequate slaughtering that didn’t result to thorough bleeding of chicken carcasses prior to scalding, indicating some birds entered the scalding tank alive.
This violates FSIS standards for ‘Humane Handling Of Livestock For Good Commercial Practices’, claiming poultry must die from slaughter, and any other way makes the poultry adulterated and therefore not suitable for human consumption.
The lawsuit indicates some of these chicken products are advertised as ‘Tyson Naturals’ and ‘Tyson Premium Selects’ Ronnie Cummins, co-founder and international director of the OCA says, “Tyson should live up to the claims it makes or stop making them.”
The allegations also claim the food giant to be the ‘second-largest polluter’ in the US despite its advertising and business philosophy saying Tyson is committed ‘sustainability’ and ‘conserving natural resources.’
“Tyson’s inhumane chicken operations take a tremendous toll on the environment,” said Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch executive director. “In 2014 Tyson dumped more than 20 million pounds of toxic pollutants into US waterways.”
The accusation was launched to a Washington D.C Superior Court under the ‘District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act’ which indicates it’s a violation for any goods or services to use a source, sponsorships, approval, certifications, or ingredients they don’t have.
Both the FWW and OCA, fillings seek no ‘monetary damages’ to Tyson, just an end to deceptive marketing and advertising.