US Attorney Jim Letten states shrimp mislabelling is a violation of the Lacey Act. (Photo: justice.gov/FIS)
Two seafood companies charged with fraud
Thursday, May 24, 2012, 04:40 (GMT + 9)
A seafood processing company and a distributor were charged in federal court in Louisiana with mislabelling shrimp from Mexico as US-caught shrimp and commercially selling more than USD 100,000 of it in interstate commerce, US Attorney Jim Letten said.
Seafood distributor Worldwide Shrimp Company of Highland Park, Illinois allegedly sent the Mexican-caught shrimp to seafood processing company Doran Sea-Pak LLC of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana.
Doran Sea-Pak processed and packaged the shrimp and attached to it the false US labels of origin at least four times between 15 November 2007 and 4 December 2008, court filings say.
The mislabeling constitutes a violation of the Lacey Act.
Worldwide Shrimp Co allegedly asked the distributor to label the shrimp as caught in the US and Doran Sea-Pak did so even though its officials knew the shrimp came from Mexico. Doran Sea-Pak then would ship the shrimp back to the Worldwide Shrimp Co or to other groups to which the latter had arranged to sell it, according to court filings, The Times-Picayune reports.
The shrimp was sold throughout the US under one of the following four brand names: Shrimp King, Texas Supreme, Black Diamond and Campeche Queen.
Each company faces a maximum fine of USD 500,000 if convicted.
The US Department of Commerce (DOC) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) both conducted investigations in the case.
By Natalia Real