Lawsuit against United Egg Producers for consumer fraud
A lawsuit is being filed in the US alleging violations
of consumer protection laws based on the continued use of a logo that was meant
to stop being used nearly 2 years ago.
It has been reported that Compassion Over
are filing a
lawsuit in New Jersey against the industry trade group United Egg Producers
(UEP) and ISE America, a New Jersey egg factory farm, against the apparently
misleading "Animal Care Certified" logo on egg cartons that the UEP agreed to
stop using by April 2006.
"Animal Care Certified" is a voluntary programme developed by the UEP that
sets animal husbandry guidelines that in many ways codify industry norms and
essentially represents the factory-farming practices many concerned consumers
wish to avoid, allows egg farmers to make use of battery cages.
Claims are misleading
The UEP's "Animal Care Certified
" logo first came under scrutiny in 2003,
when the Better Business Bureau deemed the claim misleading because it conveys
to consumers a message of humane animal care. The consumer protection agency
upheld its ruling in 2004 upon the UEP's appeal, though the logo continued to be
The UEP agreed to discontinue the "Animal Care Certified" claim pursuant to
a September 2005 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission and a September
2006 agreement with the Attorneys General of the District. The settlement with
the Attorneys General was accompanied by a $100,000 fine, a commitment to "take
all steps necessary" to ensure removal of the logo and an agreement that any
further use of the claim would constitute a violation of the state's consumer
protection laws. However, COK recently filed complaints with the New Jersey and
New York Attorneys General, alerting them to the continued use of the logo in
their states and asking them to take action.
COK apparently has recent documentation of the logo being advertised on egg
cartons in stores in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Delaware.
According to the label, these eggs were all packaged and distributed by ISE
America, an egg factory farm and packing plant with approx. 1 mln hens confined
inside battery cages.
"The continued and widespread use of the misleading 'Animal Care Certified'
logo demonstrates a blatant disregard for the federal and state agencies that
have been involved in this matter and for consumers' rights not to be deceived,"
states Cheryl Leahy, from Compassion Over Killing.
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