Bumble Bee Foods LLC agreed to plead guilty for its role in a conspiracy to fix the prices of shelf-stable tuna fish May 8, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). According to the agency, Bumble Bee and its co-conspirators agreed to fix the prices of shelf-table tuna fish from as early as the first quarter of 2011 through at least as late as the fourth quarter of 2013. The price-fixing scheme included canned and pouch tuna prices.
In addition to pleading guilty in the case, Bumble Bee will pay a $25 million criminal fine. The fine can increase to as much as $81.5 million, payable by a related entity, in the event of a sale of Bumble Bee subject to certain terms and conditions. Bumble Bee agreed to cooperate with the Antitrust Division's investigation, and the plea agreement remains subject to court approval.
Two notable members of the DOJ commented on the decision in the release.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Andrew Finch of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division: “Today’s charge is the third to be filed – and the first to be filed against a corporate defendant – in the Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation into price fixing among some of the largest suppliers of packaged seafood. The division, along with our law enforcement colleagues, will continue to hold these companies and their executives accountable for conduct that targeted a staple in American households.”
Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett of the FBI’s San Francisco Division: “We echo the Department of Justice Antitrust Division's sentiment. Companies small and large hold a great deal of the American peoples’ trust and this type of unfair, greedy behavior will not be tolerated.”
[Editor's note: OFW Law Principal Attorney Michael J. O'Flaherty provided this blog piece regarding the need for federal oversight regarding the ongoing trend of class action lawsuits filed against food companies regarding product labeling.]read more
Chris focuses on fresh, canned and frozen fruit and fresh and dried vegetables for the Food Institute Report. In addition, he assists in compiling data for various Food Institute publications throughout the year. He is a proud Rutgers University alumnus with a degree in English, and has a background in web writing for a variety of industries, including legal, foodservice and small-to-medium sized businesses. In his downtime you can find him watching New York Yankees baseball, hiking, enjoying live music and spending time with his dog Kaiden. He invites you to contact him via email at email@example.com to talk about anything food-related.
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