Aldi’s motion to dismiss salmon sustainability lawsuit denied again
Aldi’s motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit over false seafood sustainability claims has been dismissed for the second time.
On May 17, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois denied Aldi’s motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed by Jessica Rawson in May 2021 alleging the retailer made misleading marketing claims sustainability for its fresh Atlantic salmon products. Rawson is represented by Richman Law and Policy, which has filed several similar lawsuits against seafood suppliers, including Cooke and Red Lobster.
Rawson alleged that Aldi’s Atlantic salmon comes, at least in part, from Chile, which has a “do not recommend” recommendation from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch sustainability rating system, Richman Law said. in a press release. Chile’s net-pen aquaculture systems raise thousands of fish in cages in natural waterways, which Richman Law says is an environmentally unsafe practice.
“Because net pens are directly linked to the wider marine environment, pollutants, disease and escaped salmon can spread from farms into the environment. As cited in the complaint, a scientific article Remarks that “the risks of harm to wild salmon populations, ecosystems and society are significant,” Richman said.
The court ruling found that Rawson’s claim that Aldi’s use of “sustainable” was misleading was plausible, even though Aldi’s fresh Atlantic salmon is Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certified.
Representatives for Richman Law did not immediately respond to a SeafoodSource request for comment. A representative from the Global Seafood Alliance, which runs the BAP program, said the organization had no comment.
In February 2022, a separate court dismissed Aldi’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by GMO/Toxin Free USA alleging that Aldi was misleading in its sustainability claims for its fresh Atlantic salmon products. Filed in January 2021, this lawsuit alleges Aldi’s use of the phrase “Simple. Sustainable. Seafood.” about its Atlantic salmon products “leads consumers to believe that the salmon has been raised to high environmental and animal welfare standards, but in reality the salmon comes from unsustainable sources,” said GMO/Toxin Free USA in a press release.
Separately, a U.S. District Court judge for the Central District of California has yet to rule on Red Lobster’s motion to dismiss in a similar lawsuit filed by Richman Law.
Filed in June 2021, the class action complaint alleges that Red Lobster’s farmed shrimp and Maine lobster are not sustainably sourced, as claimed by the company. Instead, the restaurant chain’s shrimp come from “factory shrimp farms that do not maintain the highest environmental or animal welfare standards,” the complaint states, and the Maine lobster from the restaurant chain comes from suppliers who use environmentally destructive practices that threaten threatened populations of North American right whales, according to the complaint.
The judge in that case extended Red Lobster’s motion to dismiss until later in May.
Photo courtesy of GMO/Toxin Free USA