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Animal Legal Defense Fund Sues "Organic" Egg Producers for False Advertising

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page, Safeguard Organic Standards page and our Factory Farming and Food Safety page.

You've probably seen "cage-free," "free-range," and "pastured," on egg packages in your local markets. But what exactly do these phrases mean? Free ranging hens frolicking in sunny pastures? Or hens crowded together in confined spaces? The Animal Legal Defense Fund is headed to court to ensure egg producers don't get away with deceiving well-intentioned consumers with misleading packaging.

ALDF is filing a class-action lawsuit against California egg producers Judy's Family Farm Organic Eggs ("Judy's Eggs"), owned by Petaluma Egg Farm, for false advertising. As you can see, the packaging implies hens have access to a natural outdoor environment. Children sit amidst green grass on a sunny day. A butterfly floats above, as a happy little hen roams freely with her chicks.

As Michael Pollan references in his book The Omnivore's Dilemma, Petaluma Egg Farm "has clearly mastered the conventions of Supermarket Pastoral."

 Who could begrudge a farmer named Judy $3.59 for a dozen organic eggs she presumably has to get up at dawn each morning to gather? Just how big and sophisticated an operation Petaluma Eggs really is I was never able to ascertain: The company was too concerned about biosecurity to let a visitor get past the office.