Starkist Tuna: Not as Advertised

  • Tuna mislabeled, shredded and not only in water.
  • I often wonder if discount stores, such as where I usually get these canned tunas, get sub-standard products because of a price discount.
  • Starkist is a litigant in a class action lawsuit from May of 2019 for the harming or killing of dolphins in their quest for tuna.

The last can of Star-Kist Tuna was so bad I was forced to send in a complaint to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The U.S.D.A. takes complaints of meat, poultry, and egg processed products, and fortunately they have an on-line complaint form which is easy to fill out: just have the product information available, and a picture of the product would be a good add-on.

StarKist Tuna is the name of a brand of tuna that is produced by StarKist Co., an American company based in Pittsburgh’s North Shore that is now wholly owned by Dongwon Industries of South Korea. It was purchased by Dongwon from the American food manufacturer Del Monte Foods on June 24, 2008, for slightly more than $300 million.

Here is the webpage to send a complaint to the U.S.D.A. about a product you may suspect as being contaminated, defective, or mislabeled among other complaints: Complaint procedure. The U.S.D.A. recommends complaints about non-meat products such as cereals, fruits, and vegetables be sent to the Food and Drug Administration, which allows complaints to be called in or sent to their address: F.D.A. There is no on-line complaint form available.

The F.D.A. states that complaints about fish may be sent to their department but I assume they mean fresh fish, in contrast to a canned fish product such as Starkist canned tuna. My complaint was sent to the U.S.D.A.

The tuna was labeled as “Chunk Light,” and in “Water” but in fact the tuna was mushy and somewhat shredded. Further labeling indicated the tuna was in “vegetable broth” which may consist of a variety of vegetables that Star-Kist lists on their website FAQ page. The labeling of the product was ambiguous; the can labels the tuna as being in water on the front of the label but under the “ingredients” section, it is vegetable broth.

The United States Department of Commerce dolphins safe label was established in 1990. Standards for the label state that tuna caught using purse seine fishing methods within the Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean did not involve the deliberate netting or circling of any dolphins.

The tuna is said to be already cooked (steamed) and originates either from Samoa, Ecuador, and in some cases Thailand, and that it is wild caught. Many times this tuna will have a dark splotch on its surface, which may be some kind of toxin. I often wonder if discount stores, such as where I usually get these canned tunas, get sub-standard products because of a price discount.

I haven’t heard back from the U.S.D.A. but beware of buying Starkist tuna. There are multiple complaints about Starkist Tuna. Most of them state that the tuna was not tuna at all, or spoiled, and not in water as the label indicated it would be.

According to NBC news, Starkist is a litigant in a class action lawsuit from May of 2019 for the harming or killing of dolphins in their quest for tuna.

I hope the U.S.D.A. starts inspecting these cans of tuna and applies remedial procedures or goes to the country of origin and investigates any non-compliance of Starkist not producing what they are advertising. What you see printed on the label may not be what’s inside.

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Kenneth Lee

I write devotions mainly but also truths about what's happening in the world, whether it's pleasant or unfavorable. News should be presented as it really it is.

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