Eden Foods stung by Obamacare backlash

The organic foods company is facing angry customers after it sued over the Affordable Care Act's contraception requirements.

By Aimee Picchi Apr 23, 2013 1:55PM

Machine operator Jim Swaney gathers scraps of pasta to send them back through a machine at Eden Organic Pasta Co., August 11, 2009, in Detroit, Michigan (© Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)Eden Foods, which describes itself as "the oldest natural and organic food company in North America," is coming under fire from its tofu-eating customers.

Some are threatening to stop buying Eden Foods, which sells dried tofu, soymilk, seaweed and other foods associated with healthy eating, over the company's stand against a mandate in Obamacare.

The backlash started when Eden Foods sued the Obama administration last month over a clause in the Affordable Care Act that will require employer-sponsored health insurance plans to provide contraceptive coverage to workers. According to the lawsuit, Obamacare "attacks and desecrates a foremost tenet of the Catholic Church" that defines birth control as "immoral and unnatural." 

That's not going over well with some customers, with one writing on Twitter that she "used to enjoy buying your soy milk by the caseload, but that has ended with your decision to discriminate on healthcare." Some called for a boycott. 

And a few grocery stores that sell Eden's products are mulling pulling the products from their shelves, according to Gothamist. The Greene Hill Food Co-Op in Brooklyn, for one, is debating a ban

Eden co-founder Michael Potter told AnnArbor.com that the lawsuit is about a "blatant government overreach that we saw happening." He added: "The government is just walking on the rights of companies and individuals who are trying to exercise their lives consistent with their conscience."

Potter and Eden have "quietly pursued a decidedly right-wing agenda," all the while marketing their foods "designed to appeal to liberals," according to Salon.com.

With his lawsuit, Potter joins Whole Foods (WFM) chief executive John Mackey in campaigning against the Affordable Care Act, which will go into effect next year. Mackey created a firestorm when he called Obamacare "fascist."' 

As for the potential impact on Eden's sales, Potter described the calls for boycotts as "certainly alarming." 

"At the same time, the economic impact remains to be seen. We’ve had some people saying they’ll buy more and a lot of people saying they won’t buy anything," he said.

That was borne out by Twitter, with some consumers expressing support for the lawsuit, with one consumer writing, "Good for you for standing up to Obamacare!"

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi

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Apr 23, 2013 4:04PM

The Liberals sing the praises of tolerance and free speech but their obvious hipocracy here comes shinning through.

Apr 23, 2013 4:22PM
You only get tolerated if you believe/support the same things that the left does; otherwise, you're the intolerant wacko.
Apr 24, 2013 7:50AM
Good for you for standing up to Obama care! 
Apr 24, 2013 3:33PM

Businesses should NOT be able to pick and choose what kind of health care they provide.  Many religions have things they disapprove of --Scientology doesn't believe in many kinds of mental healthcare, some religions do not believe in blood transfusions and in fact some would prefer no medical care.  A company doesn't have a right to determine what their workers need as far as healthcare.  Yes the Catholic Church is the largest of these and they have been given some leeway already.There are numerous churches with varying beliefs and it is fine for them to practice those beliefs themselves but they should not infringe on anyone elses options.  Just because I BELIEVE you should not have some healthcare option is not a valid reason to limit YOUR options.

  Should a company be able to say -we won't pay for any treatment or drugs if they are to assist women with post natal depression , or , sorry, we don't want to pay for that blood transfusion you need, I don't think so.


  Providing contraception will cut down on the number of abortions  -seems like that would be a good reason to make them more readily available.


It also makes sense to me to boycott a business who will use the money to fight against your principles.  If one is going to donate to a cause , why give money to anyone who would fight against that same cause--just seems like good sense to me. 



Apr 23, 2013 3:29PM
What is wrong with people boycotting this company. Listen to what they are saying we want to give health insurance to our employees but the Obamacare mandates the coverage that I as a business owner have to provide and part of that mandate is contraception coverage which is against my Religious view. The fix is easy take out the contraception mandate or change it to give a tax credit ( the extra cost for contraception) to companies that pay for contraception. We have so little respect for someone's religion in this country, especially if its Christian that we groan and moan and threaten to take business elsewhere if they do not change their religious beliefs. The left is suppose to be the most tolerant of ALL viewpoints but it becomes clearer everyday that tolerance only means to left wing ideals.
Apr 23, 2013 4:20PM
looks like our dear leaders ACA is causing much indigestion. and they thought it would be an easy swallow. after the indigestion comes the heartburn.
Apr 24, 2013 10:50AM
I will stand with Eden Foods any day over Obamacare and contraceptives!
May 6, 2013 11:34AM
Yet another reason religion doesn't belong anywhere near our political decisions or government policies.
Apr 23, 2013 7:12PM
Show me in the Bible where Jesus says, "Thou shall not use the pill or thy condoms, for they are an Obamanation -- er, abomination."  Jesus wouldn't judge people, and neither should the heads of corporations.  The Bible is one of the most horrific collections of sexual perversion, slaughter, and such contemptible behavior as owning slaves, treating women like dirt -- "Oh, Abram, I'm too old to conceive, so nail that young little slave over there."

Try teaching a Sunday School class full of 12-year-olds and explaining what it means to "spill your seed" and why that was condemned.  Try explaining to budding young women how the Biblical nations treated their girls like trash, to be used until they no longer pleased, then kicked out or worse yet, killed.  Try explaining to them why the God of the Old Testament was such a cranky, vindictive old bastard.  

Then try to answer truthfully when someone asks, "Why doesn't anyone try to live like Jesus?" when the news is full of corporate CEOs raking in tens of millions in bonuses, while Mom and Dad are trying to hang on to their underpaying \jobs -- if they have them.  Try explaining to them where God IS these days, because it sure seems like He's put the phones on hold for an awfully long time.
Apr 24, 2013 6:41AM
Porkfat. Obamacare is 95% Porkfat.  Trying to remember Obama's first speech when he took office...something about transparency and lobbyist have no home in his White House.  
Apr 24, 2013 11:15AM

Since when does having a religious conscience and living by your beliefs constitute quietly pursuing a "decidedly right-wing agenda"?  And since when is selling healthy, organic foods executing a strategy "designed to appeal to liberals"?  Do more politically conservative Americans not want to eat healthy food?


Irin Carmon is a moron.

Apr 24, 2013 12:13PM
You stupid jackasses, if an employee wishes to practice the laws of their church, then Obamacare will not matter in the least. However, if that person wishes to use contraceptives she should have that right. After all, all of the employees of these companies are not Catholic. Those who are not should have the same coverages as other companies employees. Practice your religion if you want but don't punish me for the sake of trying to establish your own righteousness.
Apr 24, 2013 1:10PM

This is really quite plain and simple.  Eden (Garden of Eden...a Biblical reference - GET IT?) is a Catholic-principled business making natural foods.  Many here either DIDN'T READ the article, jumping to conclusions that Eden is cutting hours to avoid Obamacare (which is not mentioned) or assume that only liberal people eat natural foods, meanwhile having decided that conservatives are hellbent on dying off early by insisting on consuming the most unhealthy garbage possible!

The reality is that Eden is not a giant company, with a presence so large that it is extremely difficult to find a job NOT working for them.  Therefore, they should have the freedoms to decide to omit parts of health care coverage that deviate from their principles.  Employees have the option to pay for their own pills and condoms OR choose another workplace.

Apr 24, 2013 1:13PM

I believe all it says is the company has to provide it ... it doesn't say that the employees MUST take it.  Simply offer it and let the employees decide if they want it or not according to their own individual religions.  There are insurance companies out there that allow for this.  I know, I was responsible for finding insurance companies for a large corporation and negotiating the contracts.  However it is a consideration in that the greater number of employees opting out of the birthcontrol program results in higher cost of birth and child care expenses for the insurance companies and that will reflect on the size of their premiums. Or the company could just cut all it's employees to part time and forgo the expense of insurance all together. It is now and always has been my opinion that if you choose to procreate you should be responsible for the results - not me.  It's your offspring, you pay to raise it.  Why should YOUR life choice come out of MY wallet?

Apr 23, 2013 2:59PM
I have made up my mind ! Any company that does not give healthcare to their employees that work everyday will not get my business ! Wendy's , Papa johns pizza and all the others that said they will cut hrs to get around paying healthcare to their employees These are hard working Americans who deserve healthcare for their families ! < I would rather see them go broke than pander to their BS...
May 5, 2013 11:50AM
It's not just that he says things I don't agree with - it's that he's actually suing for the right to discriminate against women. Why should I give a douchebag like that my money? That's why I'm boycotting.
Apr 23, 2013 3:49PM
They have my business...   they don't need the leech class business...  Who cares about the democrats....

I won't do business with any comany that PROVIDES anything under Obamacare....  These democrat LEECHES need to be cut off...

Let the democrats pay for their LEECHES...  
Apr 24, 2013 8:27AM
Conservatives get their tits in a wringer when threatened by market forces.
Apr 23, 2013 3:58PM
I used to buy eden products, but, along with many other uncaring and lying companies, no longer EVER will.  Once they've shown their true colors, it is time to move on.  Organic fresh is better than canned political crap, that eden foods produces.  Just another rightwing organization trying to limit people rights and choices.
Apr 23, 2013 2:15PM
I just bought $117 worth of products from this place online. I did not know they were right wing whackos. Guess you never know who is who anymore. What does the Catholic church have to do with organic food? May be they don't need my business as there are other organic food companies.
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