Court Finds Smithfield’s Food Safety Marketing Claims Might Mislead Consumers, Rules in Favor of Nonprofit

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) today announced that the District of Columbia Superior Court rejected Smithfield’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit OCA brought against the pork producer in May 2020 under the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CPPA).

“We are pleased that the court agrees that Smithfield, a producer of industrial factory farm pork, should be held accountable for claims the company makes about the safety of its products and production practices,” said OCA International Director Ronnie Cummins.

In its ruling, the court rejected Smithfield’s argument that no reasonable consumer would rely on the company’s claims that its products are the “safest” possible, that Smithfield is “Leading the industry on food safety.” and that its COVID-19 response “complement[s] the extensive safety measures” used by the company. The court held that such claims plausibly lead reasonable consumers to believe the products are “produced without the use of potentially carcinogenic drugs, have lower-than-average rates of Salmonella contamination, and are not contaminated with particularly dangerous disease strains.”

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