Organic standards require certified chickens to have year-round access to the outdoors. A federal lawsuit filed Monday against Walmart accuses the superstore of failing to deliver on those standards, which command a premium price at the checkout counter.
According to an article posted by Reuters, the lawsuit highlights uncertainty among consumers about production practices in the $500 million organic egg industry, farmers said, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture last month shelved plans to spell out for the first time what it means for birds to have access to the outdoors.
The lawsuit was filed by a customer and calls out birds raised by Cal-Maine Foods Inc. and sold under Walmart’s Organic Marketside brand. (Cal-Maine is also named in the suit.) The labels affirm that the chickens that laid those eggs were given access to the outdoors, but it’s clear that the customer, listed in court documents as Donnie Lee Gibson of California, who filed the suit feels otherwise.
Reuters reported that Walmart has not yet reviewed the allegations but was taking them seriously.