Price Chopper caught with more than 1,100 pounds of illegal lobster

Published on
July 29, 2016

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) seized more than 1,100 pounds of undersized lobster from several Price Chopper stores across the state, according to a press release from the agency.

In March 2016, officers from the department found undersized lobsters at two Price Chopper stores in Binghamton, New York, triggering further random inspections at other Price Chopper locations throughout the state, which found additional undersized lobsters.

During a routine inspection of Price Chopper’s distribution facility in Schenectady, New York on Tuesday, 26 July, DEC agents investigated 297 cases of lobsters and determined 820 lobsters, approximately 15 percent of the inventory, were under the legal limit set by the state’s Environmental Conservation Law. At least 105 undersized lobsters were seized at Price Chopper stores, bringing the total value of the confiscated lobsters to more than USD 7,000 (EUR 6,270).

The law requires lobsters sold in New York state to measure between 3 and 3/8-inches and 5 and 1/4-inches from the eye socket to the end of the body shell, according to the press release. Price Chopper faces fines of up to USD 100 (EUR 90) for each undersized lobster seized by the DEC, which said in its press release it will attempt to “negotiate a settlement with Price Chopper in the coming weeks.”

"We unknowingly received short-length lobsters in our distribution center as part of a shipment from a Cape Cod, Massachusetts-based supplier with whom we have conducted business for over 30 years," Price Chopper Vice President of Public Relations and Consumer Services Mona Golub told SeafoodSource. "Their failure to meet our product specification requirements has damaged the integrity of our trade partnership with them and our faith in their measuring process. We do intend to hold them responsible and believe any fines we receive should be their fines to pay, not ours."

Following their confiscation, the undersized lobsters donated to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York on Wednesday, 27 July.

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