Food Navigator reports four lawsuits in Illinois, Indiana and Georgia were filed against Fairlife and one naming Coca-Cola as a defendant.
The lawsuits accuse the companies of consumer fraud and false advertising when videos surfaced showing animal abuse at a Fairlife supplier in Indiana.
According to the Chicago Tribune four dairy workers were fired and three charged with animal cruelty and the Fair Oaks location, about 80 miles southeast of Chicago discontinued milk use from that location.
Fairlife’s CEO Mike Saint John released a statement to customers, June 12:
Just like you, we have seen the videos online that were recorded earlier this year at Fair Oaks Farms. Here is an update on the actions fairlife is taking to reinforce our commitment to the humane and compassionate care of animals at all our supplying farms:
We committed to you that we would visit and audit all 30 of our supplying farms in 30 days. These audits are already underway and will be completed by July 6, 2019.
We committed to increase the frequency of our supplying farm audits to 24 per year, all of which will be unannounced. We have enlisted an independent industry-leading auditor to partner with us on this ongoing program.
We committed to requiring all supplying farms’ employees be re-certified in animal welfare training on an annual basis. We are in the process of notifying all supplying farms that all of their employees will need to complete a mandatory animal welfare training program and be re-certified on an annual basis.
We committed to holding our supplying farms to the highest enforcement standards of our zero-tolerance policy on animal abuse. We are requiring all supplying farms to sign updated contracts agreeing that they will terminate any employees caught abusing an animal and, if applicable, cooperate with investigations by law enforcement. More than these steps, we understand we need to constantly push ourselves to attain the highest level of transparency, sustainability, and animal well-being. One way we’re pursuing this higher ground is to enlist an advisory council of independent experts in veterinary health sciences, animal well-being, workforce improvement, ethical farming practices and on-farm innovation. Not only will the council ensure we are protecting animals, they will hold fairlife and the dairy industry to a higher standard that reflects our true values.
Although Coca-Cola did not respond to the lawsuit, the company did release a statement saying that it was conducting an independent investigation of all of Fairlife’s dairy suppliers.