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Advertising watchdog dismisses PETA complaint against Noble Foods

Hens perching on a wooden slat

THE Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has rejected complaints that Happy Egg Co advertising had the potential to mislead consumers.

The complaint centred around information presented on the Happy Egg Co’s website that detailed how farms in its supply chain exceed free-range standards as set by Freedom Foods.

See also: Free-range egg output hits record high

The complainants argued that, based on visits that PETA and five members of the public had made to three Happy Egg Farms, the advertising was misleading.

In response, Noble Foods outlined the extensive steps a would-be Happy Egg co farm must undertake to become a supplier.

Management conducts a detailed assessment of the farm, checking things like feather and flock health conditions, litter conditions, enrichments, and range conditions.

Standards

“They then assessed the overall results and graded the farm as “Red”, “Amber” or “Green”, the ASA said in its investigation.

“The “Green” standard was required to qualify as an approved supplier for Happy Egg. If a potential supplier met their requirements, they then planned the farm’s transition to adopt their bespoke Happy Egg feed before the supplier could be integrated into the Happy Egg supply network.

“The supplier could begin supplying eggs ten days after the delivery of Happy Egg feed, to allow time for nutrient uptake by the birds.”

Auditing

Once approved, the farm is subject to extensive auditing.

And in the case of the three farms that were the centre of the complaint, Noble Foods explained how many times they had been audited and the steps taken once PETA raised concerns.

The ASA said: “We considered that this information demonstrated that there were comprehensive measures in place to ensure that all of the Happy Egg Co.’s supplier farms provided hens with access to outdoor spaces and greenery, and satisfied the RSPCA Assured Farm standards for free-range hens.

“We concluded that the claims’ Free Range and Happy, Natural Goodness Starts with our hens. We work hard to keep all our free-range hens happy’.

“‘Giving them acres of field to explore, foliage and trees to play in’ and ‘All of our farms exceed free-range standards in the UK as set by the RSPCA Farm assurance scheme, Freedom Foods’, as consumers were likely to understand them in context, had been substantiated and were not misleading.