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Labeling lawsuit against Sanderson Farms dismissed

Activist groups claimed monetary loss due to "false" advertising of company's chicken as "100% natural."

A U.S. district court judge recently dismissed a lawsuit, filed in 2017, against Sanderson Farms alleging that the company falsely promoted its chicken as “100% natural.” In the lawsuit, activist groups Friends of Earth and the Center for Food Safety claimed that they had lost money or property diverting resources as a result of Sanderson’s “false” advertising.

In his order to dismiss, Judge Richard Seeborg said the plaintiffs could not prove that the advertising was specifically related to Sanderson’s claims, explaining, “they were continuations on non-Sanderson-specific initiatives plaintiffs were undertaking in furtherance of their missions to address antibiotic use generally.”

Further, he relayed that many of the plaintiffs' cited activities neither referenced Sanderson nor its advertising.

“Perhaps most damaging to plaintiff’s cause are their own depositions where they admit they did not divert resources because of Sanderson’s advertising and statement they would have undertaken the same advocacy activities — including advocating against the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture and discouraging consumers from purchasing meat raised with routine antibiotics — even if Sanderson had never aired the challenged advertisements.”

For these reasons, the judge dismissed the lawsuit, citing “lack of standing.”

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