Thursday, September 04, 2014

Eden Foods and Obamacare

* Two Months On From Hobby Lobby Ruling, Grocery Co-ops Dump Eden Foods Products From Shelves

Most everyone has heard of Hobby Lobby (and its legal case). Probably fewer of Conestoga, and even less of Eden Foods. Eden is organic food company, owned by Michael Potter, who is opposed to some things "Obamacare" was going to require his company to pay for. The company sued the U.S. Government over the Affordable Care Act’s employee birth control mandate.

Eden Foods choice, however, has created a backlash among some of this country’s regional grocery co-ops. For example:

"Madison, Wisconsin’s two-store Willy Street co-op this week announced it’d be removing nine of Eden Foods’ popular products from its shelves after a comment period."

"San Francisco’s 40-year-old Other Avenues co-op has opted to remove all traces of Eden Foods from its store..."

Kirstin Moore, of Willy Street, stated that Eden Foods “ought to understand how some of our consumers may draw the conclusion that today’s Eden Foods — the Eden Foods that filed suit to retain control over how certain employees may use the healthcare compensation Eden Foods provides — has fallen short of our cooperative values.”

Other Avenues wrote to its customers, “While we appreciate Eden Foods commitment to other political causes such as the non-GMO movement, we are saddened by their decision to fight against providing basic reproductive health services to their own employees, and cannot in good conscience continue to carry their products so long as they continue to oppose this fundamental right.”

These co-ops (and others) interestingly use their political leanings as a reason to punish Eden Foods for their political leanings. And that is well within their rights. A few, like Bob Bejesky, of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, fight boycotting for such reasons with their own actions: "I go out of my way to buy Eden products because of their stand, which I don't necessarily believe in but I respect their belief."

It sounds like Eden is in it for the long haul and sticking to their guns. Founder and CEO Michael Potter "is a devout Catholic who does not believe companies should be forced to fund insurance that includes that coverage." The company's statement stands by doing what they believe is the right thing regardless of the consequences. "We realized in making our objection that it would give rise to grotesque mischaracterizations and fallacious arguments. We did not fully anticipate the degree of maliciousness and corruption that would visit us. Nevertheless, we believe we did what we should have."

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