A New Jersey consumer is taking on California-based American Tuna over the veracity of its claim that its canned products are “100 percent American made.”
On Nov. 4, Jeffrey Craig filed a class action complaint with a US district court in New York, alleging the canned tuna supplier is misleading the public by marketing its tuna as being canned in the United States when actually much of the product is canned in Thailand, Costa Rica, Vietnam and other countries.
"Standing in the supermarket aisle and considering a can of 'American Tuna,' with its large American flag and 'Caught and Canned in America' label, a reasonable consumer would understand this tuna to be caught and canned in America," the complaint reads.
"There would be no reason to suspect this tuna is caught and canned anywhere else other than America."
Craig told the court the company is deceiving customers who are willing to pay a higher premium for tuna that is 100-percent caught and processed in the United States.
"The overwhelming impression created by American Tuna is that all of its tuna is caught and processed here," Craig said.
"This false impression enables American Tuna to charge significantly more than other companies that label and market their tuna products properly."
According to the complaint, the value of that deception amounts to $5 million (€4.3 million), and Craig is demanding a jury trial for harm he alleges has been caused to himself and other consumers who purchased the product.
American Tuna products are sold throughout the United States in major retail stores such as Whole Foods, Walmart and Stop & Shop, and through online retailers, including Amazon.
Craig said he purchased the product over the last several years from various supermarkets throughout New York State.
The company currently says on its website its tuna is caught in the Marine Stewardship Council-certified American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA) fishery in the North Pacific Ocean.
The company states its product is packed by hand in Oregon and Washington State, and that its cans are manufactured in America.
American Tuna was formed by a group of pole and line fishing families in San Diego in 2005. The company did not respond to requests for comment by IntraFish.