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Organic food purveyor Eden Foods is suing the department of Health and Human Services because they don't want their insurance to cover birth control and other women's health care, as required by the Affordable Care Act.

When the news broke, I wrote a letter to the company, expressing my disappointment, and letting them know I would no longer buy their products.

Dear Eden,

I have been a loyal customer for decades. Unfortunately, I can no longer purchase your products in good conscience, since you have decided to treat grown women as if they are toddlers unable to make their own medical or moral decisions. Shame on you.

Sincerely, your former customer, [me]

Moments ago, a reply appeared in my inbox:
17 April 2013

Please be discerning consumers. Grotesque mischaracterizations about Eden Foods' action related to the Health & Human Services (HHS) mandate, Affordable Care Act, are most regrettable.

On March 21st, 2013 a press release announced our lawsuit against the unconstitutional government overreach in the HHS mandate. This announcement was made to the media and general public. We apologize for the unintended consternation given rise to by this action.

Eden Foods' health care provider is required by the HHS to comply with all details of the Affordable Care Act. Parts of the mandate violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. This overreach of the federal government infringes on religious freedoms.

It is discriminatory that not all employers have to comply with the HHS mandate. Millions of people and thousands of companies are exempt. The exemptions under the Act are illogical, inconsistent, and contributing factors to our lawsuit. For instance, McDonald's Inc. and 166 unions are exempt. Small employers are exempt. Individuals who practice certain faiths are exempt, while individuals who practice other faiths are not. Federal employees are exempt, and this is hypocritical. There is no exemption for the religious freedoms of employers.

Eden employee benefits include health, dental, vision, life, and a fifty percent 401k match. The benefits have not funded "lifestyle drugs," an insurance industry drug classification that includes contraceptives, Viagra, smoking cessation, weight-loss, infertility, impotency, etc. This entire plan is managed with a goal of long-term sustainability.

We believe in a woman's right to decide, and have access to, all aspects of their health care and reproductive management. This lawsuit does not block, or intend to block, anyone's access to health care or reproductive management. This lawsuit is about protecting religious freedom and stopping the government from forcing citizens to violate their conscience. We object to the HHS mandate and its government overreach.

This is an important matter that deserves attention from us all.  

Our actions have been, and will remain, principled and transparent. Eden's focus is pure food, ethical business practice, and the nurturing of all people and the planet.

Michael Potter, President
Eden Foods, Inc.                          701 Tecumseh Road, Clinton, Michigan 49236 U.S.A
ph 517 456-7424    ·    fax 517 456-6075    ·   ·

Here's my response to this response:
Dear Mr. Potter,

Thank you for confirming my understanding of the situation.

A corporation is a chartered entity that has no religious beliefs. You are not your corporation and it is not you. As such, the corporation offering health insurance is not the same as you personally offering that insurance. The corporation's money is not your money. Your personal beliefs have no place in determining how health care benefits offered by the corporation to the corporation's employees are spent by those employees. Choosing to impose your religious beliefs on the corporation's employees is in direct violation of those employees' constitutional rights to freedom of religion and privacy.

We will avoid your products from now on.


I love how he started his letter by essentially insulting anyone who wrote to begin with. I think he's about to see a drastic loss of profits. The fundies are not his company's target demographic - most of them can't afford to shop in the places where his foods sell.

Please take advantage of the contact information at the end of Mr. Potter's letter to let Eden know your opinion of their attempt to curtail their employees' religious freedom.

11:18 AM PT: Several People have asked about what products Eden makes. They have a fairly extensive product line, all of which are under the Eden name (look for Eden on the label.

Most common is their Edensoy soy milk.

They also make canned beans and tomatoes, condiments, dry pasta, dried fruit and seeds, juices, apple sauce, oils and vinegars, teas and spices.

11:36 AM PT: Thanks for the rec's folks! I've got to go out for several hours, please spread the word and let Mr. Potter know how ill-conceived (heh) his law suit is.

Originally posted to Radical Simplicity on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 10:27 AM PDT.

Also republished by Pro Choice and Environmental Foodies.

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