Organic Consumers Association (OCA) filed suit against Mowi USA and Mowi Ducktrap for deceptive marketing and advertising of smoked Atlantic salmon products sold under the Ducktrap River of Maine brand.
The action was filed by Richman Law Group on behalf of OCA, in D.C. Superior Court under the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act.
“Most consumers choosing a smoked Atlantic salmon product with the words ‘All Natural’ on the package would be surprised to learn that that salmon was raised in a crowded pen where it was treated with artificial chemicals, including pesticides and medically important antibiotics,” said OCA International Director, Ronnie Cummins.
“In survey after survey, consumers say they believe a product labeled ‘all natural’ was produced without synthetic chemicals, especially pesticides and antibiotics, and that they are willing to pay more for products labeled ‘natural’,” Cummins said. “Ducktrap River of Maine targets those consumers, even though the company’s practices are not consistent with consumer expectations.”
In fact, consumers have ranked the “minimal use of hormones and drugs,” “no pollution to the environment” and “respect of fish welfare” as three of the four most important elements of sustainable aquaculture.
In addition to false “All Natural” and “100% All Natural” packaging and marketing claims, Mowi misleads consumers by claiming its farmed salmon is “sustainably sourced,” “environmentally sustainable” and “eco-friendly,” suggesting to consumers that the products are made from salmon sourced in accordance with higher environmental and animal welfare standards.
Conditions at Mowi facilities in Scotland have been rated by animal charity OneKind as some of the industry’s worst due to mortality rates, parasite infestations, stress levels, overstocking, genetic deformities and escapes, among other factors. Overall, the analysis ranked Mowi as the second-worst out of eight farmed fish producers on animal welfare.
Mowi also misleadingly claims that Ducktrap products are “from Maine” and “from the coast of Maine,” when in fact the products are made from salmon sourced from industrial salmon farms outside the U.S.
Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is a grassroots nonprofit consumer advocacy organization representing a network of more than 2 million consumers in the U.S. and Mexico.
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