Sanderson Farms prevails in ‘100% natural’ lawsuit

Sanderson Farms prevailed in a lawsuit filed by Friends of the Earth and the Center for Food Safety, which alleged the poultry company falsely promoted chicken as “100% natural.

Roy Graber Headshot
(Jason Morrison | Freeimages.com)
(Jason Morrison | Freeimages.com)

Sanderson Farms prevailed in a lawsuit filed by Friends of the Earth and the Center for Food Safety, which alleged the poultry company falsely promoted chicken as “100% natural.

The organizations disputed the all-natural claims, because the birds are treated with antibiotics and do not spend time outdoors. The organizations launched an advertising campaign to rebut the claims made by Sanderson Farms, Reuters reported, but the judge in the case ruled in favor of Sanderson Farms, stating that the two groups did not have standing to file the lawsuit, because they failed to prove how spending money on that campaign was a “concrete injury.”

Friends of the Earth and the Center for Food Safety were joined by the Organic Consumers Association in filing a suit against Sanderson Farms in 2017. However, recent media reports concerning litigation against Sanderson Farms did not list the Organic Consumers Association as a plaintiff.

At the time the suit was filed in 2017, Sanderson Farms stated: “Sanderson Farms will vigorously defend this lawsuit. The company also intends to continue its marketing and advertising campaign to educate consumers on its position regarding the judicious use of FDA-approved medicines to treat sick chickens and to prevent disease in chicken flocks. Such use is consistent with Sanderson Farms' animal welfare obligations to the animals under its care, its environmental sustainability efforts and the company's obligations regarding food safety.”

Judge Richard Seeborg of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California presided over the case.

Headquartered in Laurel, Mississippi, Sanderson Farms is the third largest poultry company in the United States. According to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, it produced 86.6 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis in 2018, an increase of 4.1 million pounds – or about 5 percent – from 2017. The company employs about 14,000 people.

Page 1 of 1584
Next Page