The Animal Welfare Institute is suing the Department of Agriculture for what it calls “unreasonable delay in responding” to a 2014 petition. AWI asked the agency in 2014 to require independent certification of certain animal raising label claims.
The Administrative Procedure Act requires federal agencies to respond to petitions for rulemaking within a reasonable time. After four and a half years, the organization says it has not received a reply from USDA. The petition specifically asked USDA to require third-party audits to substantiate holistic claims, such as “humane” and “sustainable,” so that consumers know these claims are verified prior to appearing on food labels.
According to an October online survey of more than 2,000 consumers commissioned by AWI, 86 percent of meat/poultry/egg/dairy consumers agreed that the government should not allow the use of claims like “humanely raised” on food product labels unless verified by an independent inspection.