United Egg Producers Run "A-Fowl" of Consumer Protection Laws
Producers reach an agreement with 15 states' attorneys general
September 21, 2006
(Anchorage) — Attorney General David Márquez announced today that Alaska and 15 states and the District of Columbia reached an agreement with United Egg Producers ("UEP") to resolve allegations that the trade association misled consumers regarding standards of care for egg-producing hens.
In early 2005 the Consumer Protection Unit of the Department of Law joined in a multi-state investigation into UEP's "Animal Care Certified" logo. The logo appeared on egg cartons to certify compliance with UEP's hen-care standards.
The Attorneys General concluded that the "Animal Care Certified" logo misled consumers as to the quality of UEP's standards of care, which allowed the forced molting of hens, confinement of birds in crowded wire cages, and de-beaking of chicks. In November 2005, UEP discontinued its "Animal Care Certified" logo and adopted its current "United Egg Producers Certified" logo.
"Many Alaskans purchase consumer goods based on certifications that are included on products that enter the marketplace," said Márquez. "Consumers have a right to rely on the plain meaning of a trade association logo that certifies to good corporate conduct. A certification program must not be promoted in a way that misleads consumers."
Under the agreement UEP agrees not to resume use of the "Animal Care Certified" logo or to misrepresent the level or type of care given to hens. UEP, which includes 80 percent of egg producers, denies in the agreement that its logo or advertisements ever misled or confused consumers.
The multi-state investigation, led by the District of Columbia Office of the Attorney General, included the states of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, and West Virginia.
For additional information please contact Assistant Attorney General Cynthia Drinkwater in the Department of Law's Consumer Protection Unit at 269-5200.
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