Citing deceptive business practices, consumers filed a federal class action lawsuit against Darigold, an agricultural marketing cooperative that is one of the largest dairy producers in the country with more than 500 participating farms and total annual sales of almost $2 billion dollars.
In the filing, the plaintiffs claim Darigold misrepresents the way its member suppliers treat both animals and workers, in marketing materials and the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report.
Farmworker Justice and the Law Offices of Marcos Camacho will serve as co-counsel for the consumers.
Although Darigold publicly claims that their participating farms ensure care for animal health, promote food safety and provide labor protections, workers have regularly reported labor and animal rights violations and poor working conditions on suppliers’ farms. The filing states that milk is produced from injured and sick cows, and that workers do not have access to drinkable water, sanitary lunch rooms or rest breaks. Workers also claim on-going wage theft and workplace discrimination.
“At the root of any company’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts must be fair and just treatment of their workers,” said Bruce Goldstein, President of Farmworker Justice. “Darigold is clearly not committed to these goals based on the abuses documented by workers on their suppliers’ farms. Consumers deserve to know the truth behind how Darigold’s suppliers treat their employees and how their products are being made.”
Workers and consumers will hold press conferences in Portland and Seattle on May 8th.
Source: Hoards Dairyman