Eat This, Not That!
A consortium of small farms and consumer advocacy groups has just filed a complaint with the FTC alleging that food production giant Cargill engages in regular coercion of partnered farmers and misleads the public with inaccurate narratives of its products. More specifically, the complaint claims that Cargill's turkeys sold under the Shady Brook Farms and Honeysuckle White brands are not raised by "independent family farmers," even though it says so on the label.Often referred to as an "agribusiness giant," Cargill is not a small operation. For context, Cargill, which was founded in 1865 and currently employs 186,000 people, is the second-largest privately held company in America today, according to Forbes, with $2.82 billion in earnings in the 2019 fiscal year. (Related: 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply.)According to the complaint just filed with the Federal Trade Commission, Cargill is also not a fair partner to any independent family farming operation. Central to the "Complaint requesting action to enjoin the dissemination of false or deceptive advertising by Cargill, Inc." is the assertion that: "Cargill makes numerous representations that lead consumers to believe the turkeys used in its Products are raised by 'independent family farmers.' Cargill uses its 'independent family farmers' narrative to imply that the Products have far-reaching benefits for workers, animals, and the environment."The complaint, which was filed by the Richman Law Group on behalf of a partnership consisting of the nonprofit organizations Family Farm Action Alliance, Venceremos, Mighty Earth, Animal Equality, Organic Consumers Association, and Socially Responsible Agricultural Project, also accuses Cargill of routinely engaging in strong-arm tactics when dealing with its suppliers.Family Farm Action Alliance Vice President Angela Huffman said in a statement that the company "wields its corporate power to abuse contract turkey growers and slaughterhouse workers, animals, and the land. Cargill's advertising pulls the wool over consumers' eyes while stealing the market from independent family farmers."The filing also assails Cargill for claiming to be a humane and eco-friendly company, when allegedly, the "turkeys are kept in intensive, unsanitary confinement where they are systematically mutilated and selectively bred to have debilitating health problems." The filing also notes that the company is "consistently ranked as one of the largest polluters of air and waterways in the country."For more grocery shopping news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter.