Sustainability-focused false-labeling lawsuits dropped after ALDI agrees to change farmed salmon marketing

An ALDI salmon product.

Two lawsuits arguing ALDI’s misleadingly labeled some of its seafood products as sustainable have been dismissed.

Essen, Germany-based ALDI operates more than 2,000 U.S. grocery stores in 36 states. Toxin Free USA, represented by Richman Law and Policy, filed one of the complaints against ALDI in 2021. The nonprofit, which advocates against the use of GMOs, synthetic pesticides, and toxins in food products, alleged ALDI sourced salmon marketed with sustainability labels from fish farms in Chile that use unsustainable and environmentally destructive practices, including the use of toxic chemicals.

The second complaint against ALDI – a class-action suit led by Jessica Rawson via Richman Law in 2021 – was also voluntarily dismissed in November 2023. That complaint alleged the retailer made deceptive sustainability claims in marketing its fresh Atlantic salmon products.

Both cases had entered mediation with the goal of reaching settlements that would avert the necessity of going to trial. As part of the agreement to end the lawsuits, ALDI denied the allegation that its "sustainable" labeling is misleading but agreed to revise its fresh Atlantic salmon product labeling and marketing, Toxin Free USA said in a press release.

Additionally, ALDI will begin working to transition some of its supply of fresh Atlantic salmon products to aquaculture facilities certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council or the Global Animal Partnership, Toxin Free USA said. Aldi will also provide updates on the progress of its supply transition via its website.

In the Toxin Free USA suit, the judge hearing the case earlier denied ALDIs motion to dismiss the lawsuit, ruling the nonprofit provided sufficient documentation that consumers may perceive ALDI’S use the word sustainable” on its seafood packaging as misleading.

In the second lawsuit, the judge in the case had previously nixed two separate motions from ALDI to dismiss the case, most recently in May 2022, before it was voluntarily dismissed in November 2023.

Richman Law declined to comment on the dismissal of the two lawsuits, and ALDI did not respond to a request from SeafoodSource for comment.

The ALDI lawsuit dismissal follows settlements and continuations in other similar seafood sustainability actions. A federal judge recently denied Red Lobsters motion to dismiss a class-action fraud lawsuit alleging that the restaurant chain sold Maine lobster and farmed shrimp that is not as sustainable as the company claims.

U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt denied the motion to dismiss the class action complaint, originally filed in June 2021 by Dezzi Rae Marshall in the U.S. state of California against Orlando, Florida, U.S.A-based Red Lobster. Marshall, who is also represented by Richman Law, alleges that the companys shrimp and lobster are sourced from farms and fisheries that dont meet high environmental standards.

"We are pleased that the court denied defendants' motion to dismiss in its entirety. We hope that courts will continue to recognize the value consumers place on ensuring that meals 'promised' as sustainable actually fulfill that promise and minimize harm to aquatic animals," Richman Law and Policy Animal Welfare Legal Fellow Brooke Dekolf told SeafoodSource.

Photo courtesy of ALDI


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