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“We\’ll get rid of chick killing”: Foodwatch sues Aldi for consumer deception

“We\’re getting rid of chick killing”: That\’s how the discount store advertises its eggs. This slogan deceives consumers, says Foodwatch – and takes Aldi to court.

The consumer organisation Foodwatch accuses Aldi of deceiving consumers on the subject of chick killing – and has filed a lawsuit at the Essen Regional Court. Foodwatch denounces the discounter’s advertising, which states, among other things, “We’re getting rid of chick-killing.”

The consumer organisation complains that the statement is misleading because the promise only refers to shell eggs in the carton. It does not include eggs processed in cakes, pasta or ready-made meals, for example. About every second egg consumed in Germany is found in processed food. The consumer organisation also criticised that Aldi has by no means abolished the killing of chicks – in contrast to what the advertising suggests. Rather, the company has issued the goal of ending the practice by the end of 2022 at the latest.

Foodwatch therefore wants to have Aldi banned by the court from advertising with sentences such as “We are abolishing chick-killing” or “No chick-killing at Aldi Nord”. When asked by SPIEGEL, Aldi did not comment on the proceedings, and the Regional Court in Essen confirmed that the complaint had been received. In mid-March, Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd had committed themselves to abolishing the chicken-killing for the entire production of ground, free-range and organic eggs throughout Germany by 2022. To achieve this, Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd are using, among other things, the genetic analysis method developed by the biotech company Planton, in which liquid can be taken from the egg through a tiny hole and the sex can be determined on the ninth day of incubation.

The male chicks would then not be hatched any further and would instead be processed further, for example in animal feed, write Aldi Nord and Süd in a joint press release. In addition, from 2021 onwards, the discounters will gradually purchase all organic eggs from the so-called “brother cock rearing”, where the male brothers of the laying hens are fattened for meat production.

Foodwatch had already warned Lidl about similar advertising. Lidl promised in advertising brochures and on an Internet site under the title “Stop chick killing” that the practice would “now stop”. Foodwatch criticised that Lidl too was only referring to the gradual change in its shell egg range. Lidl has now stopped this kind of advertising.

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