- Costco and its Thai seafood supplier, CP Foods, are the targets of a lawsuit that claims Costco has been selling prawns from CP Foods, which was "buying fishmeal, which it feeds to its farmed prawns, from some suppliers that owned, were operating or buying from fishing boats manned with slaves," The Guardian reported.
- According to the lawsuit, plaintiffs are demanding an injunction to stop Costco from selling the prawns unless the retailer labels them as being tied to slavery.
- The lawsuit was prompted by a recent investigation from The Guardian that uncovered some of this information about CP Foods and other seafood suppliers based in Thailand that provide global retailers with products, including Costco, Wal-Mart, Tesco, and Carrefour.
Last month, celebrities Brad Pitt and Bill Maher spoke out against Costco's practice of sourcing eggs from caged hens. Maher wrote a New York Times editorial about the matter. In March, Costco Canada had its fish importing license suspended after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the retailer did not follow certain administrative procedures during the past two years. Also in March, several groups and thousands of protestors petitioned Costco to no longer sell GMO salmon. Now, being tied to a slavery operation lawsuit doesn't bode well for the retailer.
"Allegations concerning issues in the Thai seafood industry have been well publicised for over one year," Costco told The Guardian in a statement regarding the lawsuit and slavery claims. "Costco Wholesale has been working with and will continue to work with various stakeholders (including the Thai government, other retailers, and Thai industry) to address the issues that have surfaced. In the meantime, all of our customers know that if they are dissatisfied with any purchase from Costco Wholesale they can return the item for a full refund."