Photo: Saul Loeb, AFP / Getty Images
Organic Valley, the nation's largest name-brand marketer of organic eggs, is being accused of misleading consumers about the living conditions of its California hens, and for violating federal organic standards, according to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The bombshell was dropped by the California-based organic watchdog group Cornucopia Institute, which says the hens at the Petaluma Egg Farm were confined in screened "porches" and not allowed to forage naturally in pastures with direct sunlight.
"The federal organic standards clearly state that 'year-round access for all animals to the outdoors' is a requirement," says Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst with the group in a release on their website.
The Cornucopia Institute has filed a legal complaint with the USDA over the matter. The current dust-up may be prompted by the USDA's National Organic Standards Board meeting scheduled for the end of April, where the board is expected to address whether "porches" meet the definition of access to the outdoors.