In the wake of our recent report and video reaching over a million American consumers about the pervasiveness of humanewashing at the grocery store, Farm Forward has kicked off a campaign and ad blitz calling out the meat industry’s latest deceptive marketing scheme, “One Health Certified” (OHC), which now adorns Batavia, Illinois-based ALDI’s store-brand chicken. Peeling back the seemingly holistic OHC sticker exposes a sophisticated humanewashing, greenwashing, and healthwashing initiative by the sixth largest poultry producer in the U.S., Mountaire Farms—which just topped headlines after settling a $205 million class action lawsuit for allegedly polluting the drinking water of thousands of people in Delaware.
One Health Certified claims to follow a rigid set of antibiotics, animal welfare, and environmental standards, but in reality, OHC only certifies standard factory farming practices, including permanent indoor confinement in crowded sheds, where birds cannot engage in natural behaviors like foraging and dustbathing. The genetically modified birds allowed under OHC are bred to grow so large, so quickly, that they often suffer from injuries and heart and lung stress, and many can no longer walk by the time they reach slaughter age. Further, despite touting “responsible” antibiotic standards, the OHC label allows repeated, perpetual use of medically important antibiotics for disease treatment and control without consequences.
A scathing exposé in The New Yorker sheds light on why Mountaire needs a public facelift: “Between 2010 and 2016, Mountaire had twice the number of OSHA violations per thousand workers as Tyson—a company with a workforce twelve times bigger.” Mountaire has also settled lawsuits alleging racial discrimination, and in 2013, it was fined for abusing Haitian workers, in part by denying them bathroom breaks. And Mountaire is no stranger to environmental degradation and animal abuse. For decades, it has been cited for environmental violations, and a 2015 undercover investigation revealed birds being violently thrown and punched, as well as sick and injured birds being discarded into piles with the dead.
Mountaire’s new label misleads consumers at the precise moment they’re seeking safer, healthier, and more humane products amidst a global pandemic by capitalizing on the legitimacy of the World Health Organization’s highly respected One Health framework. Ultimately, OHC does nothing to alleviate the crowded conditions within factory farms that facilitate the spread of diseases, infections, and parasites.
Meanwhile, ALDI proclaims its commitment to “livestock products being produced to high industry standards and in an ever more sustainable way,” but it has refused to commit to any bare-bones animal welfare improvements like eliminating gestation crates for pregnant pigs and is now using the green OHC sticker to cover up these failures. Our new petition urges ALDI to follow through on its corporate sustainability pledge, starting with dropping the humanewashing OHC label and Mountaire as its chicken supplier. The petition is accompanied by geotargeted mobile ads reaching tens of thousands of cell phones within a mile radius of the grocer’s headquarters this month, online ads targeting ALDI executives, and ads on social media targeting ALDI’s millions of followers.
Preceding the campaign launch, Farm Forward was joined by a national coalition of animal welfare, consumer, public health, and environmental organizations, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, Consumer Reports, and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washing University, in calling on ALDI and other chains to steer clear of OHC, yet ALDI, Mountaire’s largest grocery customer, has yet to comment.
Join us in urging ALDI to ditch Mountaire and its humanewashing OHC label today by signing our petition on Change.org.