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3 U.S. canneries including StarKist settle lawsuit

reporters@samoanews.com

Pittsburgh based StarKist Co., owner of StarKist Samoa cannery in Pago Pago, and two other major American tuna canneries, have agreed to pay $3.3 million to settle a tuna brands dispute with three counties in California.

Gavin Gibbons of the Washington DC based National Fisheries Institute issued a brief statement Friday morning to national news media announcing the settlement with San Diego, Marin and Riverside counties. The companies will also donate $300,000 worth of tuna products to California food banks.

The dispute centered on the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 55 year-old pressed weight standard.  “Rather than litigate against an outdated standard, the companies will continue their own efforts with FDA towards establishing a more modern, consistent and reliable standard of measurement that can be easily understood and verified by consumers. While working with FDA to change the standard, the brands continue to comply with FDA pressed weight regulations,” it says. “The brands were not found liable for any violations.”

District attorneys in San Diego, Riverside and Marin counties opened the case in 2010 following an investigation by the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The Associated Press reported that San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis, who officially announced the settlement yesterday, said the companies failed to meet federal standards for tuna in the cans relative to ingredients such as vegetable broth and added flavors.



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