Mowi Salmon Claims: “Sustainable,” “Natural,” “From Maine” Class Action

The product at issue in this class action is smoked Atlantic salmon, under Ducktrap and other brand names. The allegations concern how consumers interpret product claims like “sustainably sourced” and “all natural.” The complaint alleges that Mowi USA, LLC and Mowi Ducktrap, LLC make claims on their packaging and advertising of the salmon products that deceive consumers.

The Mowi companies are subsidiaries of Mowi ADA, the largest producer of farm-raised salmon in the world, which supplies a fifth of the worldwide demand for this fish.

The representations the complaint objects to fall into three categories: sustainability, naturalness, and Maine origins.

The sustainability claims include such terms as “sustainably sourced,” “farm sustainably,” “We CARE for the environment,” and “eco-friendly.”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says that these kinds of terms may be “interpreted to imply certain specific environmental benefits.” For example, the term “eco-friendly” is “deceptive” because it “likely conveys that the product has far-reaching environmental benefits and may convey that the product has no negative environmental impact.” Also, the complaint says that consumers also interpret these terms to mean that the company adheres to higher standards of animal welfare.

According to the complaint, however, the salmon come from industrial fish farms. They require large amounts of wild fish for food, which the complaint says is unsustainable. The fish are kept in “open net” pens where a single pen may hold as many as 70,000 salmon, which the complaint says poses environmental risks.

Mowi “was ranked second-worst out of eight farmed fish producers on animal welfare[,]” says the complaint. As an example, it points to “mortality rates, parasite infestations, stress levels, overstocking, genetic deformities, and escapes” in Mowi’s Scotland facilities.

Second, as to naturalness, the complaint claims that Mowi uses antimicrobial drugs and pesticides. This can promote resistance to antibiotics in humans who eat the fish. Also, consumers believe the word “natural” means no pesticides were used. The complaint claims that Russia has banned salmon from Mowi’s Chile facilities because of the detection of such substances in the fish.

Third, the products are labeled as being from Maine—for example, “Naturally Smoked Salmon from Maine” or “from the coast of Maine.” However, the complaint alleges that the products are actually from facilities in Chile, Scotland, Iceland, and Norway.

The National Class for this action is all persons or entities in the US who bought the products in packages with any of the representations of sustainability, naturalness, or Maine origin, from the start of any applicable statutes of limitations through the date of class certification in this case.

There is also a Consumer Fraud Multi-State Class for those who live in California,
Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New
Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin, from the start of any applicable statutes of limitations through the date of class certification in this case.

Finally, there is a New York Subclass, for those living in New York.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Mowi Salmon Claims: “Sustainable,” “Natural,” “From Maine” Complaint

November 5, 2020

The product at issue in this class action is smoked Atlantic salmon. The allegations concern how consumers interpret product claims like “sustainably sourced” and “all natural.” The complaint alleges that Mowi USA, LLC and Mowi Ducktrap, LLC make claims on their packaging and advertising of the salmon products that deceive consumers.

Mowi Salmon Claims: “Sustainable,” “Natural,” “From Maine” Complaint

Case Event History

Mowi Salmon Claims: “Sustainable,” “Natural,” “From Maine” Complaint

November 5, 2020

The product at issue in this class action is smoked Atlantic salmon. The allegations concern how consumers interpret product claims like “sustainably sourced” and “all natural.” The complaint alleges that Mowi USA, LLC and Mowi Ducktrap, LLC make claims on their packaging and advertising of the salmon products that deceive consumers.

Mowi Salmon Claims: “Sustainable,” “Natural,” “From Maine” Complaint
Tags: All Natural Claims, Deceptive Advertising, Deceptive Labels, Place of origin, Sustainability or Ecological/Environmental Claims