Organic Consumers Association

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Big Ag's Gifts for 2013

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page, Food Safety Research Center page and our Factory Farming page.

As the year comes to an end it's become a tradition of mine to write a note of gratitude to Big Ag for the many "gifts" they've given us all throughout the year. Gifts that we didn't really want, need or -- in some cases -- didn't even know about. Here's my top 10 for 2013. It's just a shame they didn't include a gift receipt...

Bogus Food Claims

The number of bogus food claims continued to rise in 2013. Take Tyson Food's new Farm Check program: it's just the latest example of a so-called farm audit program that's been specifically designed to convince consumers they're buying a higher welfare meat product. But once you start to look beyond Tyson's PR show program, you'll find the same old intensive production systems and the same old welfare problems you were trying to avoid in the first place. Under Tyson's Farm Check program, farmers are still allowed to use gestation and farrowing crates and confine their pigs indoors in concrete slatted pens and dock piglets' tails so they can't bite each other's tails out of boredom (see the highly sanitized video link above). Farm Check isn't about changing the way Tyson works: it has absolutely nothing to do with stopping--or even changing--any of these inhumane animal practices. Why? Because this kind of industrial farming system is exactly how Tyson is able to produce its pork so cheaply in the first place. It's just a swanky PR stunt to fool consumers into thinking they're supporting real change, when they're not.

AWA launched its free Food Labels Exposed app in 2013 to provide clear and factual definitions for the most commonly used claims and terms for the production, marketing and labeling of meat, dairy, eggs and other farmed products. Download on the App Store here or get it on Google Play here.    
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