Nonprofits File FTC Complaint Against Cargill's 'Family Farmer' Turkey Label Claims

Six groups say the labels falsely imply the turkey brands have benefits for workers, animals and the environment.


WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, six nonprofits filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission asking the FTC to investigate Cargill, Inc., and enjoin the company from making false and misleading claims about its turkey products sold under the Shady Brook Farms and Honeysuckle White brands.

In the complaint, the groups — Venceremos, Mighty Earth, Animal Equality, Organic Consumers Association, Family Farm Action Alliance and Socially Responsible Agricultural Project — said Cargill uses its "independent family farmers" labeling and marketing claims to falsely imply that the turkey brands have far-reaching benefits for workers, animals and the environment when in fact the turkeys used in the brands come from large, corporate-controlled factory farms.

"Far from the bucolic family farms portrayed by Cargill's marketing, Cargill's actual production methods exploit contract farmers and slaughterhouse workers, systematically abuse animals and cause grave harms to the environment," the complaint reads.

Cargill routinely exploits both the struggling contract farmers who raise its turkeys and the slaughterhouse workers in the processing plants (all the more evident in during the COVID-19 pandemic), according to the complaint.

Cargill mutilates turkeys and intensively confines them in unsanitary warehouses. The company engages in environmentally destructive practices, including improper waste disposal that pollutes and degrades waterways, the groups said.

Animal Equality is an international organization working with society, governments and companies to end cruelty to farmed animals.

Family Farm Action Alliance is a national research, policy development, market innovator, and advocacy organization working to build a sustainable, inclusive economy.

Mighty Earth is a global environmental campaign organization that protects forests, conserve oceans and addresses climate change.

Organic Consumers Association is a consumer education and grassroots lobbying organization advocating for safe, healthful food and a clean environment.

Venceremos is a worker-based organization in Arkansas working to ensure the human rights of poultry workers.

Socially Responsible Agricultural Project is a national non-profit helps communities replace industrial livestock production with ecologically sound, socially equitable and economically viable animal agriculture.

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