Starkist defends ‘Made in America’ tuna claim

Starkist’s claim that its new brand of tuna is ‘Made in America’ elicited some questioning tweets from tuna company American Tuna and US seafood enthusiast Jonathan Gonzalez recently.

“What’s up with the new StarKist Made in America label,” Jonathan Gonzalez, a US seafood blogger who is seeking a position on one of the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (PFMC) subpanels, tweeted on Friday.

“Foreign flag vessels, using who knows what gear type, no traceability, canned in Samoa. Hilarious,” replied American Tuna, a US seafood company that fishes and cans albacore from the North Pacific.

The exchange was directed at Starkist’s launch of ‘Made in America’-labeled 12 ounce cans of “chunk light” tuna in mid-July, to celebrate its 50th anniversary in American Samoa.

Is Starkist’s product made America?

Starkist, a US subsidiary of the Korea-based tuna giant Dongwon, runs up against a key requirement in the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s Bureau of Consumer Protection’s requirements for complying with the “Made in USA” standard.

According to the FTC, a product should be “all or virtually all” made in the United States in order to be an accurate “Made in USA” claim. That means if the raw material makes up a significant part of the product’s worth, the raw material must be of US origin. A gold ring, for instance, is not Made in the USA if the gold is not from the US, says the FTC. It also means the processing must be done in the US.

Under this regulation, goods produced in US territories including American Samoa, are entitled to the Made in USA label.


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