Tuna salad sandwiches are a staple of childhood for many Americans, but that nostalgic lunch is not necessarily as innocent as one might think. Today Greenpeace has announced a global campaign urging people to stop patronizing Chicken of the Sea canned tuna over alleged forced labor, human rights abuses and environmental destruction.
According to Greenpeace, Thai Union Group is the world’s biggest canned tuna company. The Thailand-based seafood purveyor owns many subsidiary brands for sale around the world, including Chicken of the Sea in the U.S.
Greenpeace said in a statement that Thai Union Group and its seafood brands practice fishing methods that “result in high levels of sharks, turtles, juvenile tuna and seabirds caught unintentionally (known as bycatch), and are often associated with illegal fishing and violations of human and workers’ rights.”
According to Greenpeace, three class-action suits have already named Thai Union Group as the supplier of fish caught by forced labor and used in Chicken of the Sea canned tuna, and also in pet food brands in the U.S.
“Chicken of the Sea is one of the worst U.S. canned tuna brands on both sustainability and human rights,” said Greenpeace USA Oceans Campaigner Kate Melges in a statement. “As the largest brand owned by the largest canned tuna company in the world, Thai Union Group, it’s critical that Chicken of the Sea step up as a leader to ensure its products meet the standards it claims to support. That means working urgently to change to lower-impact fishing methods and guarantee oversight and traceability at sea.”
Greenpeace says it is demanding that Thai Union Group and its subsidiary brands take urgent steps to eliminate labor abuses and destructive fishing practices, and it is urging consumers to stop buying any of the company’s products until such steps are taken.
“We can no longer allow Thai Union Group and its brands around the world, including Chicken of the Sea, to sacrifice the world’s oceans and jeopardize workers at sea,” said Greenpeace USA’s Graham Forbes in a statement. “For far too long Thai Union Group has passed the blame onto others and hidden behind ineffective policies. Until this industry giant takes responsibility and demonstrates real leadership, we will work to ensure that every single customer knows it’s not just tuna that comes with buying one of its tainted brands.”