Lawsuit against Costco over "dolphin-safe" tuna claim advances

Kirkland-brand tuna sold in a U.S. Costco store.

A lawsuit alleging tuna sold by Issaquah, Washington, U.S.A. based retailer Costco makes false claims of being “dolphin-safe” has advanced.

U.S. District Court Judge William H. Orrick III ruled on 17 January, 2023, a proposed class-aciton lawsuit filed on behalf of Melinda Wright, a resident of the U.S. state of California, contained plausible allegations Costco broke its own pledge to adhere to a “dolphin-safe” standard in regard to its tuna. Wright said she paid USD 15.00 (EUR 13.80) for eight cans of Kirkland Signature White Albacore Tuna in Water at a Costco in Ukiah, California, in 2021, and “would not have done so or would have paid less had she known Costco's claims were misleading,” according to the suit.

“Costco’s false advertising scheme deceives millions of consumers into believing the products are ‘dolphin-safe,’ meaning they are manufactured using fishing methods that neither kill nor harm dolphins. However, the grim reality is that the products are sourced using fishing methods that seriously injure and kill thousands of dolphins and other marine life each year. Costco knowingly and intentionally labels and advertises its products as ‘dolphin-safe,’ to increase profits at the expense of sustainability concerned consumers and innocent marine life, while gaining an unfair economic advantage over their law-abiding competitors that sell truly ‘dolphin-safe’ tuna products,” the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit could have wider implications for the seafood industry, as it ...

Photo courtesy of The Image Party/Shutterstock

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