Eggland’s Best will pay a $100,000 fine to settle charges that it continued to advertise its eggs as lower in cholesterol than others although it had agreed not to, the government said Wednesday.
It was the second Federal Trade Commission challenge to advertising for Eggland’s eggs, which cost up to $1 more per dozen than store-brand eggs.
When the company first settled with the FTC in 1994, it agreed that it would not misrepresent the amount of cholesterol in its products.
But in following up, the FTC found that changes Eggland’s made to its advertisements weren’t enough to alter their basic message or satisfy the agency, said Joel Winston, assistant director of advertising practices.
“People are willing to pay a lot more for a product they’re told is healthier for them,” he said. “We take claims like that very seriously.”
Eggland’s president, Charles Lanktree, denied wrongdoing and said the company did not intend to imply that consumption of Eggland’s eggs can influence blood cholesterol levels.
New ads launched in January, he said, “accurately reflect what we’re trying to convey about our unique product.”
Eggland’s hens are fed a vegetarian diet that contains no animal fat or processed human food. The patented eggs are sold in most supermarkets.
The FTC alleged that advertising since August 1994, when the previous agreement was finalized, implied that eating Eggland’s eggs will not increase serum cholesterol as much as ordinary eggs would.
The ads also cited a clinical study that said adding a dozen Eggland’s eggs a week to a low-fat diet won’t increase cholesterol, the FTC said.
The FTC said Eggland’s could not prove its claims and that the clinical study was false. Both claims also violated the 1994 agreement, which subjected Eggland’s to the $100,000 fine, the FTC said.
Eggland’s again has agreed to halt misleading cholesterol claims.