Hormel Deep Dive Summary

Parents and consumers who want to buy healthy foods are often faced with misleading claims when they walk down the grocery aisle.  

Newly published evidence shows how a Big Meat company, Hormel Foods, took advantage of consumers’ confusion about what “natural” means in food advertising.

According to documents uncovered over the course of a lawsuit against Hormel Foods for false advertising, the company humanewashed its “Natural Choice” product line.

Despite the “natural” branding, animals for Hormel Foods’ “Natural Choice” products were raised in the same way as for the company’s standard, factory farm-produced meats.

The documents show that Hormel allowed the use of feed additives like ractopamine, bambermycin, and formaldehyde to produce its “Natural Choice” product line – the same potentially harmful chemicals and antibiotics used to produce its conventional meat products. That’s not exactly what the average shopper thinks of as “natural”. 

Animals raised for the “Natural Choice” product line were subject to the same cruel, factory farm conditions as animals raised for Hormel’s conventional products.

Hormel and the meat industry as a whole take advantage of a big gap between what shoppers believe to be true when they see “natural” advertising and the reality of how that meat was produced.

The lawsuit was brought by Public Justice on behalf of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. ALDF, Tracy Rezvani and the Richman Law Group also acted as counsel in the case. 

Access the newly published documents and analysis here.

 A watercolor illustration of an executive’s disembodied hand painting an indifferent pig’s torso and legs green with a thick paintbrush and a green can of paint. The background is the faded excerpt of a Hormel official’s deposition concerning the aesthetic choices behind Hormel’s Natural Choice advertising and labeling, including the choice to color it green.

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