StarKist settles canned tuna lawsuit; consumers can get $25 or $50 in fish
StarKist Co. has settled a lawsuit that claimed consumers weren't getting enough fish in their cans of tuna. (Cathy Phillips)
Thanks to a recent legal settlement, you can convert that tiny loss into a small fortune in tuna. Though StarKist Co. denies any wrongdoing, it settled the suit by offering to pay consumers either $25 in cash or $50 in fish.
The settlement applies to customers who bought even one 5-ounce can of chunk light or solid white tuna, in oil or in water, between Feb. 19, 2009 and Oct. 31, 2014. Recognizing that most people would not keep tuna receipts for more than five years, the settlement allows for a kind of honor-system filing, via the Web site tunalawsuit.com.
Filing a false claim would be perjury. All claims must be filed by Nov. 20. According to the lawsuit, the federal government sets standards for how much of various kinds of tuna must be contained in a "5-ounce" can.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit, Patrick Hendricks, of Oakland, California, had samples tested to see whether they met that standard.
For Chunk Light Tuna in Water, the standard is 2.84 ounces of pressed cake tuna. StarKist provided an average of only 2.34 ounces, the suit says. That's a difference of only half an ounce, but it's 17.3 percent below the legal standard.
For solid white tuna in water, there was a 6.83 percent shortfall; for solid white tuna in oil there was a 3.7 percent shortfall; and for chunk light tuna in vegetable oil the shortfall was 1.1 percent, the suit alleged.