Lawsuit against American Tuna targets “Made in America” claims

Published on
November 10, 2021
A class-action lawsuit against San Diego, California, U.S.A.-based American Tuna claims that its products were not caught and canned in the United States, as represented in the company’s marketing.

A class-action lawsuit against San Diego, California, U.S.A.-based American Tuna claims that its products were not caught and canned in the United States, as represented in the company’s marketing.

While American Tuna’s marketing and labels state that the products are “Caught and Canned in the U.S.A.,” “Caught and Canned in America,” “American Made” and “100 percent American Made”, the tuna is caught and canned outside the United States, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

American Tuna’s marketing also says its products are sourced from the “American Pacific Northwest” and the “U.S. North Pacific.”

In a “local sourcing” section on the company’s website, American Tuna claims it purchases and processes its tuna from Marine Stewardship Council-certified, one-by-one caught albacore from the Bonita, California, U.S.A.-based American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA) fishery.

“AAFA is comprised of 100 percent U.S certified one-by-one vessels,” the marketing states. “We are pioneers in sustainable sourcing of tuna.”

But much of the company’s tuna is canned in Thailand, Costa Rica, Vietnam, and other countries, according to the complaint.

“In reality, however, American Tuna sources an enormous volume of tuna from international waters and the territorial waters of other countries, and much of this tuna is canned in other countries as well,” the complaint states. “Consumers … who pay a premium for American Tuna Products base their purchasing decisions on what the labeling, marketing, advertising, and promotion claim.”

The plaintiff, Jeffrey Craig, contends that the company may be utilizing American-flagged vessels to catch its tuna in international waters. Craig is asking for a jury trial and damages to be determined by the court.

American Tuna did not respond to SeafoodSource’s request for comment.

Photo courtesy of American Tuna

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