Hormel Wins “All Natural” Lawsuit

May 9, 2019

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has lost a lawsuit, filed in 2016, against Hormel Foods Corporation, which claimed the Hormel Natural Choice advertising was misleading. The USDA defines natural as, “A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color and is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural.” Hormel’s advertising campaign was based around this definition and the labeling was approved by USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Services.

ALDF claimed Hormel’s Natural Choice advertising campaign violated the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act, claiming that using the term “natural” was misleading to consumers.

ALDF also claimed consumers would believe this label conveys information about how the live pigs are raised rather than how the pork is processed, as defined by USDA. The court noted that if a label claim is accurate at a federal level, a state cannot make it illegal to use the same language in advertising.