US supplier allegedly mislabeled USD 4 million worth of crab

Published on
June 27, 2019

A United States seafood supplier mislabeled more than USD 4 million (EUR 3.5 million) worth of blue crab meat as “Product of the U.S.A.,” when it was actually purchased from Asia, the U.S. government alleges.

In a complaint filed in federal court this week, the U.S. Department of Justice alleges that Capt. Neill’s Seafood, based in Columbia, North Carolina, along with its president and CEO Phil Carawan, intentionally mislabeled foreign crab meat as “Product of the U.S.A.” 

For periods of time from January 2012 through June 2015, Capt. Neill’s “was unable to satisfy customer demand for domestically harvested blue crab; nor did Capt. Neill’s have frozen domestically harvested blue crab to satisfy customer demand,” the complaint said.

As a result, Carawan led Capt. Neill’s to purchase foreign crab meat from South America and Asia, according to the complaint.

“Carawan then directed Capt. Neill’s employees to repack foreign crab meat into containers labeled ‘Product of U.S.A.’, which Capt. Neill’s then sold to customers as jumbo domestically harvested blue crab,” the DOJ stated. 

Capt. Neill’s sold around USD 4.08 million (EUR 3.6 million) of the mislabeled crab meat to U.S. grocery stores, wholesale clubs, and other retailers between 2012 and June 2015, according to the DOJ.

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