Costco sued over short-weighted shrimp
Costco Wholesale is being sued by a Scarsdale, N.Y., man who says the club store routinely sells short-weighted shrimp.
Marc Verzani filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York on Monday against the Issaquah, Wash.-based company, claiming its Shrimp Tray with Cocktail Sauce always weighs less than advertised.
Verzani's lawyer claims the weight of the shrimp included in the tray is frequently 3 or more ounces short of the advertised net weight of 16 ounces.
Verzani also claims Costco never individually weighs the shrimp trays.The shrimp trays retail for USD 9.99 (EUR 7.75), an overcharge of USD 0.63 (EUR 0.49) per ounce, or USD 1.25 (EUR 0.97) to USD 1.86 (EUR 1.45) per tray. Verzani estimates that the 410 Costco stores nationwide sell 205,000 to 410,000 shrimp trays each week, or 21.32 million trays annually.
The suit seeks damages for Verzani and others who may join the suit. Additionally, Verzani wants Costco to stop selling its shrimp trays until the product is accurately labeled with a correct weight.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this month released a statement reminding the seafood industry that short weighting is a felony. The release reiterated a 1991 FDA policy that stated "the net weight of frozen seafood may not include the weight of the glazing (ice)."
The guidance also said that the "Federal Food and Drug Cosmetic Act prohibits the adulteration of food by adding any substance (such as ice glaze) to increase its bulk or weight" and explains that violators may be criminally prosecuted.