The American Heart Association (AHA) is facing a lawsuit brought by Waymaker on behalf of advocacy group Animal Outlook that its certification of some red meat brands as “heart healthy” is misleading and false. Specifically, the lawsuit challenges AHA’s use of its widely trusted “Heart-Check” certification, which AHA fails to disclose is a paid endorsement.
“By allowing the use of the AHA Mark on certain beef products and making claims on its website and in its promotional materials about the Heart-Check Certification program and the health benefits of eating beef, AHA is actively and knowingly misleading consumers regarding the cardiovascular risks associated with eating beef,” states Animal Outlook in its complaint.
The lawsuit alleges that the AHA is taking money from beef manufacturers in exchange for its certification of red meat products, without disclosing such payment, “even though doing so runs directly counter to AHA’s stated mission and its own admissions that eating beef is not, in fact, heart healthy.” A major non-profit founded in 1924, AHA’s claimed mission is focused on cardiovascular health. The complaint also alleges that AHA advertises that its standards for evaluating beef are more stringent that the government’s standards when, in fact, they are not, and that AHA states that meat has certain cardiovascular benefits on its website and in its promotional materials despite knowing that these statements are false.
The complaint was filed August 24, 2022. Brian Klein, Teresa Huggins, Melissa Meister and Jared Sohn represent Animal Outlook.
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