Source - Food & Beverage Litigation Update | Issue 776

Lawsuit Alleges Gorton’s Inc. Misleads on “Sustainably Sourced” Tilapia

Two consumers have filed a putative class action alleging Gorton’s Inc. has misled consumers about the environmental impact of the fish it sells. Spindel v. Gorton’s Inc., No. 22-10599 (D. Mass., filed April 21, 2022). “Gorton’s claims about sustainability lead consumers to believe that the Products are ‘sustainably sourced.’ Consumer research demonstrates that claims like Gorton’s suggest to consumers that the tilapia is sustainably sourced in accordance with high environmental and animal welfare standards,” the complaint argues. “In reality, the Products are made from tilapia who are industrially farmed using unsustainable practices that are environmentally destructive and inhumane.” The plaintiffs argue that Gorton’s sources its tilapia from farms in China using pond aquaculture, “a particularly risky form of fish farming because, among other problems, this method is typically done in regions where tilapia ponds are ‘vulnerable to river flooding events,'” creating the risk of releasing the “highly invasive” tilapia into local waters. The plaintiffs seek class certification, injunctive relief, damages and attorney’s fees for alleged violations of consumer protection statutes across the country.

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