An Ohio appeals court has affirmed a lower court decision finding that two consumers’ mislabeling allegations against The Kroger Co. are preempted by the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). Arnold v. Kroger Co., No. C-150291 (Ohio Ct. App., 1st App. D., Hamilton Cnty., order entered January 22, 2016). The consumers alleged Kroger’s chickens were not subjected to “a humane environment” as the company advertised and thus were not worth the premium the store charged. The trial court dismissed the claims as preempted by the PPIA, and the plaintiffs appealed.
The appeals court was unpersuaded by the plaintiffs’ argument that the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s (FSIS’) inspection and approval of Kroger’s slaughtered chickens were insufficient to determine whether the chickens were in a humane environment while alive. “FSIS has determined that humane treatment of poultry directly implicates its fitness for human consumption because ‘under the PPIA, poultry products are more likely to be adulterated if, among other circumstances, they are produced from birds that have not been treated humanely,’ which may result in poultry that is ‘not acceptable for human food,’” the court found.