Walmart Sued for Deceiving Consumers about Organic Eggs

January 12, 2018

The USDA Organic label is in crisis. 

Just weeks after the USDA announced plans to withdraw stronger animal welfare standards from its Organic program, a consumer sued Walmart and one of its organic egg suppliers, Cal-Maine Foods, asserting that Walmart’s organic eggs did not come from hens who went outdoors, as the label indicated. While Walmart’s organic egg brand states on the package that hens had “outdoor access,” the lawsuit includes photos of a Cal-Maine farm where hens don’t appear to have any access to grass or dirt. Talk about not getting what you pay for.

“Organic” is a claim that many conscientious consumers now seek out because they believe it indicates a higher standard of animal care. But when it comes to meat, eggs and dairy, that’s not always the case due to lack of clarity around the requirement that animals have outdoor access and other standards. As a result, large “faux-ganic” companies like Cal-Maine get away with calling small, concrete, roofed structures “outdoor access.” Meanwhile, conscientious consumers are being fooled into handing their dollars over to companies that provide nearly the same, substandard level of care as factory farms. 

The ASPCA, alongside other animal welfare, public health and sustainable farming groups, has worked for years to raise USDA Organic standards that would bring the label in line with consumer expectations and animals’ needs. These higher standards were finalized in early 2017. Among other improvements, they included a stronger definition of “outdoor access,” indoor space limitations, and bans on certain painful practices. 

The current administration wants to reverse this urgently needed relief for the 100 million animals raised on organic farms, but there is still time to act. For just a few more days, the USDA is collecting comments on its decision to withdraw the rule. Tell them that you expect more from the Organic label. Take action today to protect farm animals!