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April 19, 2023

2 min read

Better Business Bureau rules OHC should discontinue animal welfare claims

Last month, the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (NAD)—an institution designed to bolster consumer trust in advertising by investigating claims made by businesses—recommended that One Health Certified (OHC) discontinue its animal welfare claims.

The NAD’s ruling is a major victory for our efforts to fight humanewashing from objectionable certifications created by the meat industry.

In a market bursting at the seams with misleading certifications, this ruling is a welcome step toward more accountability and integrity among meat producers.

What is One Health Certified?

One Health Certified is the brainchild of one the largest U.S. chicken companies and is the meat industry’s most recent efforts to greenwash, humanewash, and healthwash factory-farmed products. OHC is one of several certification schemes at the center of Farm Forward’s humanewashing campaign since late 2020. OHC uses the language of the legitimate One Health concept to assert its ostensible superiority for animals, health, and the environment. However, OHC enshrines bottom-of-the-barrel industry practices, particularly concerning animal welfare. Contrary to the welfare practices consumers expect from such a certification, OHC allows high stocking densities for poultry, provides no environmental enrichment, and utilizes fast growth for poultry. By any reasonable definition, an OHC farm is still a factory farm.

Farm Forward’s 2021 consumer survey shows that consumers mistakenly believe OHC ensures higher welfare conditions than factory farming norms. We found that 30 percent of Americans incorrectly think that the OHC label signifies that birds are raised on pasture. And 42 percent incorrectly believe that the label signifies that animals were subject to no physical modifications.

Unsubstantiated Animal Welfare Claims

The NAD’s recommendation that OHC discontinue its animal welfare claims aligns with Farm Forward’s view that OHC was created to confuse conscientious consumers. According to the NAD’s analysis, OHC “provided no evidence that its animal welfare standards meet or exceed the highest industry standards for animal care….”

This isn’t the first time OHC has been called out for its dubious claims: in late 2021, national grocer Giant Eagle announced that it would phase out OHC chicken from all of its stores following a dialogue with Farm Forward and after a coalition of dozens of interested groups came together to produce a multi-sector critique of OHC’s standards.

Grocery stores across the U.S. are awash with misleading labels that prevent consumers from making choices at grocery stores that align with their values. Help stop this deception by signing our petition to ALDI, urging the chain to drop the deceptive OHC label.

Read the full Better Business Bureau ruling here.