Perdue settles labeling lawsuit
Oct. 13, 2014
by Meat&Poultry Staff
SALISBURY, Md. – Perdue Farms Inc. has reached a settlement with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), ending two federal lawsuits over the chicken processor's labeling claims.
The two cases, one originating in New Jersey and the other in Florida, allege that Perdue's "humanely raised" claim on its Harvestland brand of chicken products was misleading. Perdue vigorously denied the claims.
However, the settlement requires the plaintiffs to dismiss their claims with prejudice in exchange for Perdue agreeing to remove the labeling claim from Harvestland chicken packaging.
“Perdue rejects the plaintiffs’ allegations and maintains that its labels are not misleading in any way. Nonetheless, it has agreed to discontinue the labeling claim at issue,” said Herb Frerichs, general counsel for Perdue Farms. “Perdue is committed to treating animals with respect and to ensuring their health and safety. We are pleased this lawsuit has been resolved.”
HSUS filed the class-action lawsuits in 2010 and 2013 on behalf of individual consumers, alleging Perdue used deceptive marketing by labeling its chicken products as humanely raised. HSUS contends that poultry industry practices are inhumane. Perdue refuted HSUS' claims, saying that the company's animal welfare program exceeds industry standards.
“We are pleased to see the claim removed from Harvestland’s packaging, which we view to be misleading,” said Peter Petersan, director of Animal Protection Litigation for the HSUS. “We will continue to work to protect both animals and consumers.”