ALDI: Stop Humanewashing with Deceptive “One Health Certified” Chicken Label

ALDI: Stop Humanewashing with Deceptive “One Health Certified” Chicken Label

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Farm Forward started this petition to Vice President of Corporate Buying, ALDI US Scott Patton and

At first glance, a bold green label reading “One Health Certified” (OHC) may look appealing to shoppers searching for safer food during the global pandemic—or at least that’s what grocery chain ALDI is counting on. But a closer look at the sticker adorning ALDI’s store-brand chicken reveals a much more sinister story: a massive meat company’s marketing scheme to humanewash, greenwash, and healthwash a grim past of environmental violations, workers’ rights issues, animal cruelty, and discrimination—and ALDI playing along.

OHC claims to certify meat producers according to a rigid standards established by an apparently independent organization. But as Farm Forward revealed in our recent report on humanewashing, OHC is the brainchild of Mountaire, the nation’s sixth largest poultry producer, which applied for the OHC trademark in 2017 and is the sole meat company to have adopted the program. 

A scathing exposé in The New Yorker sheds light on why the poultry giant 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 this year, the company finally agreed to a $205 million settlement for allegedly contaminating the drinking water of thousands of Delaware residents. Further, 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.

Behind the scenes, Mountaire’s story becomes even uglier. Mountaire’s secretive owner, Ronald Cameron, has spent decades building the political infrastructure to keep his efficient machine running without hiccups. Cameron’s own foundation has given millions to the opaque National Christian Foundation, which has given money to 23 different groups classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups. In 2020, after contributing millions to the Trump campaign, Cameron was appointed by President Trump to an advisory panel on the economic impact of the coronavirus; meanwhile, the Trump administration was busy classifying meatpacking workers as “essential,” forcing them to work amidst huge COVID outbreaks in crowded slaughterhouses. While COVID-19 cases rose by the dozens in Mountaire plants, the company went radio silent on its numbers. According to one worker, “People are coughing and they don’t look well, but they just want to keep the chicken coming. It’s all hush-hush.” 

Now, with its new OHC “certification,” Mountaire is hoping to sweep all of this under the rug. OHC’s paltry standards simply enshrine routine factory farming practices, including permanent indoor confinement in crowded sheds. 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. Ultimately, OHC standards do nothing to alleviate the crowded conditions within factory farms that facilitate the spread of diseases, infections, and parasites.

By plastering the OHC sticker on its store-brand chicken, which is supplied by Mountaire, grocery giant ALDI is raking in profits from conscientious shoppers. ALDI claims that it is committed to “livestock products being produced to high industry standards and in an ever more sustainable way.” Yet leadership never responded to the condemnation of OHC it received from a diverse national coalition of environmental, public health, and animal advocacy organizations, including Farm Forward, Consumer Reports, Natural Resources Defense Council, ASPCA, and the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at the George Washington University.

Further, ALDI has refused to commit to even bare-bones animal welfare measures like eliminating gestation crates for pregnant pigs. Instead, its leaders are trying to wash away these failures—and help Mountaire cover up its shameful history—with a little green sticker.

As one of the nation’s largest grocery chains, ALDI has a responsibility to its customers to stop concealing Mountaire’s dirty laundry through the OHC label—and to start making real progress. Join us in urging ALDI to take the first step by ditching its supplier, Mountaire, and the humanewashing OHC label today—then share our petition with your friends and family.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 75,000!
At 75,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!