Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Kroger Alleging Deceptive “Humane” Claims on Chicken
October 2014 Update: This case has been settled amicably. Read more here.
On February 11, 2014, a consumer of Simple Truth chicken—Kroger, Co.’s store brand—filed a class-action lawsuit in the Superior Court of California in the County of Los Angeles alleging that the grocery giant is falsely and deceptively touting its Simple Truth chicken as having been sourced from chickens raised “in a humane environment,” despite the fact that the birds are treated no differently than other mass-produced chickens confined on factory farms and killed in industrial slaughter plants.
The plaintiff and putative class in this case are represented by attorneys at Compassion Over Killing as well as by leading class-action law firms Tycko & Zavareei LLP and Michael McShane of Audet & Partners, LLP.
Despite Kroger’s “humane” claim, the lawsuit alleges that Simple Truth chicken products can be traced to a Perdue Farms processing facility in Kentucky, which purportedly engages in standard chicken industry practices including selective breeding of fast-growth birds who continuously suffer from cardiovascular problems, painful bone deformities, and lameness throughout their short lives.
According to the suit, Simple Truth chickens are also subject to inhumane practices at slaughter, including upside-down shackling by their legs, submersion into vats of electrified water, and in some cases, ineffective mechanical slaughtering methods that may result in drowning and scalding while fully conscious.
The complaint further alleges that Kroger’s “cage free” label misleadingly suggests that Simple Truth chickens are raised differently, and more humanely than, chickens raised for competitor products even though chickens raised for their meat (“broilers”) are virtually never housed in cages.
Who is Kroger?
Kroger is one of the world’s largest retailers, operating over 2,600 supermarket stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under various local banner names, including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs, and Smith’s. In September 2012, Kroger launched its private-label Simple Truth brand with the aim of targeting increasingly animal welfare-conscious consumers. Kroger has acknowledged the immense success of its Simple Truth brand, which helped boost the company’s growth during the 2012 fiscal year.
- Are you a consumer of Simple Truth natural chicken or interested in learning more about this class action lawsuit? You can contact plaintiff’s counsel by calling (310) 217-1519 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Share this page: Tell your friends and family about the lawsuit alleging misleading claims on Simple Truth natural chicken products.
- Read the complaint: Copies of the complaint are available upon request – email email@example.com.
For more information about COK’s efforts, visit TryVeg.com.
In the News:
This class action lawsuit challenging Kroger’s “humane” claim on its Simple Truth chicken is making media headlines, including an article by Reuters that hit the national newswire on February 12 as well as a television news report on the ABC affiliate in Cincinnati on February 13.
As noted by Reuters, “The case highlights the growing tension between food retailers and U.S. consumers, who have become more vocal over how food is produced and marketed.”
- Reuters: “Kroger Sued for not telling ‘Simple Truth’ on chicken labels”
- New York Times: “Suit Accuses Kroger of Deceit on How Poultry Was Raised”
- WCPO (ABC) Cincinnati: “Kroger accused of using deceptive practices to market ‘Simple Truth’ chicken labels”
- Cincinnati Business Courier: “Kroger sued over chicken labeling”
- Supermarket News: “Kroger sued over chicken label”
- Consumerist: “Kroger Sued Over Labeling Of ‘Simple Truth’ Chicken”