Judge rules Costco must face class action lawsuit for deceptive advertising on its Kirkland Signature canned tuna. The lawsuit alleges the company falsely advertises and labels its tuna as “dolphin-safe.”
Costco will face a class action lawsuit accusing the warehouse club of deceptive advertising on its canned tuna.
A US federal judge on Tuesday denied Costco’s request to dismiss a class action lawsuit alleging the company falsely advertises and labels its canned tuna as “dolphin safe” despite using fishing methods that harm and kill these mammals, according to Reuters.
The product related to the Costco lawsuit is Kirkland Signature albacore tuna in water. The package includes eight 7-ounce cans and sells for around $15.
Tuna cans are labeled with illustrations of dolphins on their packaging. The lawsuit claims that Costco’s labeling misleads consumers because “the unfortunate reality is that the products are obtained using fishing methods that seriously injure and kill thousands of dolphins and other marine life each year.”
Plaintiff Melinda Wright said she would not have paid for the Kirkland Signature tuna or would have paid less if she had known that Costco’s claims were misleading.
For its part, Costco says Wright only speculated about the risk to dolphins in the tuna it bought but that the store “made no promises about dolphin safety beyond using a ‘dolphin safe’ logo on labels.” .
The judge found the allegations plausible enough to proceed, noting that reasonable consumers would deduce from the Costco tuna logo that the fishing practices used promoted protection of and respect for marine life. He also said that, given the choice, consumers “overwhelmingly” prefer tuna labeled dolphin-safe.
“U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco said the proposed nationwide class action lawsuit plausibly alleged that Costco fraudulently promised to meet a higher standard of dolphin safety than required by federal law, and then he broke his “intensified pledge”.
According to Eat This Not That, the lawsuit alleges that Costco entered into an agreement with Bumble Bee Foods in 2002 to supply the tuna for its Kirkland-brand products, and that Bumble Bee admits on its website that it uses fishing practices with longlining, a method that commonly catches other marine life, including dolphins.
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