Wild Planet Foods Inc. has reached a $1.7 million settlement in a class action lawsuit that accused the firm of chronic underfilling of canned tuna products.
An attorney for one of the plaintiffs confirmed the settlement, adding that court approval is pending.
The complaint originally was filed in November 2015, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Californian Eureka, Calif., and later joined by other plaintiffs seeking class certification. Plaintiffs had sought more than $5 million.
The original suit, filed by Ehder Soto of Aptos, Calif., alleged that Wild Planet Foods violated the state’s false advertising and unfair competition laws, as well as implied product warranties. The plaintiff cited testing by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of 120 cans from five lots of 5 oz. cans of Sustainable Seas Solid Albacore Tuna in Water and Sustainable Seas Solid Light Tuna in Water.
In a sample of 24 cans of the Albacore Tuna, the tests found an average weight of 2.25 ounces of pressed cake tuna, about 30 percent below the federally mandated minimum fill of 3.23 ounces. Similar underweight results were found with the Light Tuna.
Founded in 2004, McKinleyville, Calif.-based Wild Planet promotes itself as a producer of healthy food and sustainably harvested seafood. Processing typically is done by independent canneries, which then ship finished goods to warehouses in California and New Jersey for labeling and distribution.