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Email Content: Poultry Industry News, Comments and more by Simon M. Shane

Tyson Foods Obliged to Defend Advertising Claims


Judge William M. Jackson, an Associate Judge of the D.C. Superior Court has ruled that a case against Tyson Foods should proceed.  The action was initiated in 2019 by activist organizations, Food and Water Watch and the Organic Consumers Association.  Plaintiffs allege that advertising used by Tyson is false and misleading with respect to "humanely raised" and "products produced in an environmentally responsible way". 


Tyson filed an unsuccessful motion to dismiss the case.  Judge Jackson determined that the plaintiffs had standing to file the lawsuit as they were organizations of public interest.  The contention that the lawsuit was a violation of First Amendment Rights was rejected based on the fact that the statements relating to ‘environmental responsibility’ and ‘humanely raised’ are characteristic of commercial speech, proposing a commercial transaction.


The plaintiffs are not claiming damages but have jointly initiated litigation to change marketing and advertising use by Tyson and presumably by extension to the U.S. poultry and livestock industries. This case has profound implications for producers of eggs, chicken and turkey with respect to label claims, in the event of an adverse verdict.

Copyright © 2021 Simon M. Shane