Tyson Foods accused of false advertising, FTC urged to investigate

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Workers at Tyson Foods facility in Rogers, Arkansas Source: Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods could face an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after two national advocacy groups accused the company of false advertising.

On Thursday, the Richman Law Group on behalf of Food and Water Watch, a food advocacy group, and Venceremos, a poultry worker’s rights organization, sent a letter of complaint with the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, Division of Advertising Practices.

Tyson Foods allegedly misrepresenting its labor practices

In the complaint, the advocacy groups alleged that Tyson Foods is “egregiously misleading consumers” by making false representations about its labor practices involving the production of its chicken products.

The advocacy groups told the FTC that Tyson Foods is falsely claiming that its “treatment of farmers and other workers involved in the production of Tyson Products is materially superior to standard industry practices.”

Additionally, the advocacy groups disputed the company’s claims that “independent family farms” raised its chickens and workers processed them in a safe environment from injuries, toxins, and other dangerous conditions.

“These representations are untrue. In reality, Tyson uses chicken from large corporate-controlled farms and utilizes dangerous practices that are inconsistent with what reasonable consumers expect based on the company’s representations,” alleged the complaint. “The coronavirus pandemic has further exposed the gulf between Tyson’s advertisements and the reality of its production practices. Rather than creating a safe work environment, Tyson’s negligence has led to some of the highest reported workplace illness rates in the United States.”

Furthermore, the advocacy groups alleged that Tyson Foods’ “safe working environment” and “independent family farm” claims are “baseless” and “part of a sophisticated marketing strategy” since “large and growing consumers are keenly interested in avoiding purchasing products that are the result of inhumane labor practices.”

Advocacy groups say Tyson Foods workers are “most seriously injured” in the U.S.

The advocacy groups requested the FTC to launch an investigation and stop Tyson Foods from making false and misleading claims about its labor practices.

In a statement, Zach Corrigan, Senior Staff Attorney at Food & Water Watch said, “Despite what it publicly claims, Tyson workers are far from safe. In fact, they’re among the most often and most seriously injured workers in America. Consumers have a legal right to fair and honest claims regarding the products they might buy, and Tyson is clearly failing to meet this standard. The FTC needs to act now and compel Tyson to tell the alarming truth about the worker safety and public health impacts of its products.”

Magaly Licolli, Director of Venceremos said, “It’s completely unacceptable to allow Tyson to continue misleading consumers and the public about how they treat workers. The FTC must investigate Tyson’s advertising and compel them to either remove unsupported claims about the work environment or act immediately and adequately to support those claims, providing the necessary conditions for worker’s health and safety.”

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