HomeBusinessMs. Paul's, Van de Kamp's fish sticks are not "100% fish," the...

Ms. Paul’s, Van de Kamp’s fish sticks are not “100% fish,” the lawsuit claims

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – A new lawsuit accuses Conagra Brands of misleading consumers by “under-weighing” Ms. Paul and Van de Kamp’s frozen seafood products and falsely claiming it is “100% whole fish.”

In a proposed class action filed Tuesday in Chicago federal court, three consumers said Conagra artificially increases the weight of 10 fish stick and fish fillet products by adding water and sodium tripolyphosphate, “which can then ooze out as a white goo when it is cooked.

Consumers said sodium tripolyphosphate, a substance used commercially, including in laundry detergents, increases weight by an average of 13%, causing them and others to pay too much.

“A reasonable consumer has no reason to check what a product is composed of if the product’s labeling is filled with claims that it is ‘100% whole fish,’ healthy and wild-caught,” the complaint said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers sodium tripolyphosphate to be safe. Tuesday’s complaint calls it a suspected neurotoxin, a scheduled pesticide and a known air pollutant in large quantities, without providing the basis for those claims.

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Chicago-based Conagra declined to comment on the lawsuit on Wednesday, saying it does not discuss pending litigation. Lawyers for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The plaintiffs are William Martin of California, Catherine Foster of Massachusetts and Cindy Pappert of New York.

They are seeking unspecified damages for buyers nationwide of ten of Ms. Paul’s and Van de Kamp’s seafood products over the past four years, citing violations of consumer production laws in California, Massachusetts and New York.

Conagra is facing other lawsuits over its fish.

In March, a federal judge in Chicago declined to dismiss a lawsuit claiming it misled consumers into believing that nine of Ms. Paul and Van de Kamp’s products came from sustainable sources, including calling them “Good for the Environment ‘ to name.

The case is Pappert et al v. Conagra Brands Inc, US District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 24-04835.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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