In October, United Egg Producers agreed to modify the logo it uses to certify egg producers that meet its egg production standards.
The logo had read “Animal Care Certified,” but in 2003 and 2004 the Better Business Bureau found that the logo was deceptive and forwarded a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission which had been dragging its heels in deciding one way or the other on whether or not the wording was deceptive.
United Egg Producers short-circuited that process altogether by deciding to change the logo to read “United Egg Producers Certified” with the tagline, “Produced in compliance with United Egg Producers Animal Husbandry Guidelines.”
Erica Meier of Compassion Over Killing, which has filed a number of lawsuits over the past couple years charging that the “Animal Care Certified” logo was deceptive, told the Washington Post,
Consumers will be able to make more informed buying choices and won’t be duped or deceived into buying eggs that were produced by animal cruelty. They will more than likely opt for eggs labeled as cage-free or free-range.
Meier added in a prepared statement,
While the egg industry’s husbandry guidelines still permit routine animal cruelty, at least the new logo will no longer convey a false message of humane animal care. The industry’s next step should be to amend its guidelines to prohibit battery cages.
Not likely. As United Egg Producers spokesman Mike Head told the Washington Post,
We support cage-free eggs as a choice for consumers. We say, let consumers make their own choice. They are making their choice right now, and 98 percent of them are choosing conventional eggs.
. . .
The program is intact, which for us is a great victory. The only thing that was in question was the words on the logo itself. That’s why we decided, ‘Let’s change the words, because we don’t want a cloud hanging over this.’
Since free range eggs are significantly more expensive than those produced by hens confined to cages, I wouldn’t be the farm on Meier’s prediction of a sudden surge by consumer’s to such eggs because of a slight change of wording on an egg carton logo.
Egg Label Changed After Md. Group Complains. Nelson Hernandez, Washington Post, October 4, 2005.
Egg producers group agrees to alter logo, settling complaint. Des Moines Register, October 4, 2005.
Egg producers relent on industry seal. Alexei Barrionuevo, The New York times, October 4, 2005.
Federal Trade Commission Announces End to Misleading Egg Logo. Press Release, Compassion Over Killing, October 4, 2005.