What had started out in 2010 as an investigation to make sure “what is on the label is what’s actually in the can” finally ended on August 3 in a settlement for California residents. An increase in consumer complaints regarding the lack of tuna provided by the three major tuna companies Bumble Bee Foods, Tri-Union Seafood, and Starkist Co. has resulted in a $3.3 million settlement. The investigation was conducted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Their research shows that these companies have been skimping on the actual amount of tuna held within the cans. All three companies have failed to meet the federal “standard of fill” or “standard of identity.” Instead they disguised the packed cans with oil, water, vegetable broth, and sometimes tuna.
Along with paying out a collective $3.3 million, Bumble Bee Foods, Tri-Union Seafood, and Starkist Co. must provide $300,000 worth of canned tuna within 120 days to be distributed to food banks in California. Offices in San Diego, Marin, and Riverside Counties who took part in this investigation will receive $969,500 each. The CDFA Division of Measurement Standards will also receive $86,000 in investigative costs for playing a leading role in this 2 year investigation. Sounds like a pretty good deal for uncovering the true contents of the “chicken of the sea.”