logo Humane Society of the United StatesCartoon chickens roaming green fields near a ruby red barn constitute false advertising as far as the Humane Society of the U.S. is concerned when it comes to Davidson’s brand eggs.

The animal welfare group filed a complaint Friday with the Federal Trade Commission citing the artwork on Davidson’s branded eggs from National Pasteurized Eggs of Lansing, IL. The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) contends the egg carton artwork misleads consumers about how the eggs are produced.

“Davidson’s cartons prominently depict lush open pastures, a red barn and free-roaming hens — despite eggs in those cartons coming from birds permanently locked in cages so tightly they can’t even spread their wings,” according to an HSUS news release about its complaint.

“Contrary to the messaging conveyed on the packaging, these birds never feel sunlight nor touch a blade of grass. While some Davidson’s eggs are cage-free, even those coming from caged hens are marketed and sold in this deceptive manner.”

The HSUS also wants the Federal Trade Commission to investigate what the animal welfare group considers to be other potential violations of false advertising laws involving a food safety issue.

“The company claims its process ‘eliminates the risk of Salmonella’ from eggs even though caged hens are more likely to spread infection and disease,” the HSUS said in its news release.

Davidson’s brand eggs are pasteurized, which according to the company’s website eliminates Salmonella and makes them safer for consumers.

The pasteurization process is described by National Pasteurized Eggs Inc. on its website as:

  1. Davidson's brand pasteurized eggsWe start with clean, farm-fresh eggs from USDA approved, certified and inspected farms. Hens at these family-owned and operated farms are fed diets that are free of hormones, antibiotics, and animal by-products. All eggs reach us within hours of being laid.
  2. The eggs are then submerged in all-natural water bath, where computer-controlled temperature zones monitor and assure accurate pasteurization.
  3. The combination of time and temperature heats the eggs in their shells to the exact temperature needed to destroy all bacteria, exceeding established food safety standards—without cooking the egg.
  4. After pasteurization, the eggs are sealed with an FDA-approved, food-grade wax coating to prevent contamination and preserve product freshness.
  5. After pasteurization, the eggs are dried, cooled, and then stamped with a (red letter P in a circle), which identifies them as pasteurized by the Safest Choice™ precision-pasteurization process.
  6. The newly marked safe eggs are packaged in retail or foodservice packs, dated, labeled, and stored under refrigeration below 45 degrees F.

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