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CPM Files Lawsuit Against Costco to Stop Human Trafficking In its Supply Chain
On Wednesday, August 19, 2015, CPM and co-counsel Howard Law Firm and Jenkins Mulligan & Gabriel, LLP, filed a lawsuit against Costco, Chareon Pokphand (“CP”) Foods, PCL and C.P. Food Products, Inc. on behalf of consumer, Monica Sud and all others similarly situated. As described in the Complaint, Costco continues to knowingly purchase prawns from CP Foods—prawns that are directly tied to human trafficking and slave labor. As documented by the Guardian, the Associated Press and the Environmental Justice Foundation, CP Foods purchases fish meal, which contains “trash fish,” farmed frequently from suppliers that own, operate or buy from pirate boats manned with slaves that catch the trash fish to use for fishmeal. CP Foods uses this trash fish to feed its prawns, which are then shipped to the U.S. and U.S. consumers.
In 2010, the California Legislature passed the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 (the “Act”), Cal. Civ. Code §1714.43. The Act addresses the market for goods and products “tainted” by slavery and human trafficking—crimes that are outlawed by state, federal, and international law. In an attempt to comply with the Act, Costco publicly represents in its Code of Conduct, (the “Code”) that it does not tolerate human trafficking and slavery in its supply chain.
However, per the Complaint, Costco continues to market and sell frozen farmed seafood from Southeast Asia, knowing that many of its suppliers, including Thai based or Thai-flagged ship suppliers, specifically including Defendant CP Foods, do not comply with its Code.
As described in the Complaint, there are at least four (4) documentaries that provide in-depth information about slavery and human trafficking in Costco’s supply chain:
- Supermarket Slave Trail (2014) by The Guardian
- U.S. Supply Chain Tainted by Slave-Caught Fish (2015) by Associated Press
- Sold to the Sea: Human Trafficking in Thailand’s Fishing Industry (2014) by Environmental Justice Foundation
- Slavery at Sea: The Continued Plight of Trafficked Migrants in Thailand’s Fishing Industry (2014) by Environmental Justice Foundation
Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy specializes in representing consumers in class action lawsuits against businesses and corporations. Class actions are lawsuits in which an individual, or a group of individuals, sues a business on behalf of all individuals who have similar claims against the business.
For further information about CPM’s litigation against Costco, and our investigation regarding companies who engage in similar conduct, please contact Niall McCarthy, Anne Marie Murphy or Shauna Madison at (650) 697-6000 or click HERE.