Firm Fined $100K for Fixing Price of Canned Tuna in U.S.

September 12, 2019

2 Min Read
Firm Fined $100K for Fixing Price of Canned Tuna in U.S.

American food company StarKist Co. was ordered to pay a $100,000 criminal fine for its participation in a price fixing scheme for canned tuna sold in U.S. stores at a sentencing hearing in federal court on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in a release.

The court determined that StarKist took part in a conspiracy to fix the prices of canned tuna from November 2011 to as late as December 2013. U.S. District Judge Edward M. Chen determined that the company did not demonstrate that its financial circumstances warranted a reduced fine. The $100,000 fine is the statutory maximum. DOJ’s Antitrust Division voiced opposition to lowering the fine, arguing that the firm has adequate financial resources to pay the fine. StarKist was also sentenced to a 13-month probation term. 

“Today’s result demonstrates our commitment to enforcing the antitrust laws aggressively against companies that fix prices,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Dalrahim of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division said in a statement. “Hard-working Americans deserve the benefits of open competition when they spend their hard-earned money on items that stock kitchen shelves. When a corporation cheats customers at the checkout line, the Antitrust Division will hold it accountable to the greatest extent.”

StarKist received six charges during the on-going federal antitrust investigation being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office. 

“The consequences for greedy companies who cheat the marketplace and American consumers are significant and clear,” FBI Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett said in the release. “The FBI, along with our law enforcement colleagues, will continue to pursue those who conspire to fix prices and bring them to justice.”

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