10 Jun 2020

Tuna titans accused in US price fixing case

8:49 am on 10 June 2020

The Korean owners of US based StarKist Inc., Dongwon Industries, which runs a tuna cannery in American Samoa, is among the defendants in a United States civil lawsuit claiming a tuna price fixing conspiracy in the state of Washington.

American Samoa tuna processing plant

American Samoa tuna processing plant Photo: RNZI Monica Miller

Also implicated is the former owner of StarKist, Bumble Bee Foods.

The allegations from the state's Attorney General, Bob Ferguson, assert Washingtonians lost millions over 10 years when the companies, and Chicken of the Sea International, colluded to reduce can size.

Mr Ferguson claimed they engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy from 2004 through 2015 to drive up the cost of packaged tuna.

"We cannot have a free market when corporate titans are able to tip the scales to their own bank accounts," he said.

The lawsuit is seeking for the defendants to pay restitution to Washington consumers as well as legal costs.