StarKist tuna company ordered to pay $100M for price-fixing conspiracy

StarKist tuna company ordered to pay $100M for price-fixing conspiracy
© Greg Nash

Tuna company StarKist has been ordered to pay $100 million for working with other companies to fix the prices of canned tuna, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday.

The tuna giant was also sentenced to a 13-month term of probation, according to a DOJ news release.

The fine, the statutory maximum, was assigned by U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen for what prosecutors described as a price-fixing conspiracy from as early as November 2011 to at least December 2013.

ADVERTISEMENT

StarKist has agreed to cooperate in the DOJ Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation, according to the department.

“Today’s result demonstrates our commitment to enforcing the antitrust laws aggressively against companies that fix prices,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

“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's president and CEO, Andrew Choe, said in a statement to The Hill the company has "cooperated with the DOJ during the course of its investigation and accept[s] responsibility."

“We will continue to conduct our business with the utmost transparency and integrity," he added. "We have addressed the necessary actions required in this agreement and we will continue to strengthen related compliance best practices.”

— This report was updated at 3:31 p.m.