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Organic Consumers Association

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Tyson Sued for Pretending It’s a Responsible, Ethical Company

Two groups are angry at Tyson for its feints towards positive environmental practices.

Labeling of food is a minefield; the FDA has many rules about what companies can and cannot say on their packaging and in their advertising, but there are combine-sized holes through which companies can drive.

We’ve written before about the word “natural” or “all-natural,” which can be printed on packages by anyone, at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all. That’s just one of the many ways that companies, especially agribusiness giants, can make themselves appear more in line with progressive food ideals than they actually are. And now, Tyson is getting sued for it.

As Americans become steadily more conscious of where our food comes from, there’s increasing pressure on producers to cater to those desires. Sometimes, that pressure can effect actual change; sometimes, companies would prefer to keep their costs where they’ve always been, and just adopt the veneer of respectability. A chicken company, for example, might advertise that it’s “hormone-free” or “raised without hormones.” This is perfectly legal to print, but highly misleading. After all, it is completely illegal for any chicken, organic or conventional, to be given hormones. 

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