Organic Consumers Association, Friends of the Earth, and Center for Food Safety sued Sanderson Farms, Inc. alleging that Sanderson's advertising misled consumers about the nature of Sanderson's chicken products and farming practices.
In its advertising, Sanderson claimed that its chicken is "100% natural" and has no "hidden ingredients" and that "at Sanderson farms, being 100% natural means there's only chicken in our chicken." Sanderson also made claims such as "no antibiotics to worry about here" and "good, honest chicken."
In denying Sanderson's motion to dismiss, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California held that the plaintiffs have standing to sue, that the plaintiffs' claims were not preempted, and that the plaintiffs' claims were not implausible.
On the issue of implausibility, the Court held that it is plausible that a reasonable consumer could find Sanderson's advertising materials to be deceptive. In so doing, the Court relied upon a survey indicating that a majority of consumers believe a "natural" poultry product is produced without the use of antibiotics or other drugs at any point.
At the very least, the facts alleged do not 'compel the conclusion' that consumers are unlikely to be deceived by Sanderson's marketing and that this case must therefore be dimissed.