TUNA LAWSUIT NETS FOOD BANK WINDFALL

A lawsuit brought by a Tinton Falls man over mislabeled tuna fish has resulted in a cornucopia of canned foods for a Mercer County food bank, the Trenton Times reports today.

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Last month, Del Monte Foods shipped 33,000 pounds of food to the Mercer Street Friends Food Bank in Ewing as part of a settlement of a class-action suit brought by Nick DeBenedetto, the Times says.

Thew newspaper reports that DeBenedetto sued Del Monte instate Superior Court in Middlesex County last year…

after he bought a four-pack of StarKist tuna cans and discovered that the nutritional information on the outside plastic wrapping differed from the nutritional information he discovered on the can labels inside, according to Andrew R. Wolf, De Benedetto’s lawyer.

Wolf said DeBenedetto filed the suit because he’s interested in nutrition and was concerned about the labels, which had inconsistent figures for calories, fat, protein and cholesterol.

The nutrition label on the outside packaging gave lower amounts for all four categories than the inside labels.

For example, the plastic labeling said there were 10 calories from fat and 70 calories overall per serving, whereas the can labels said there were 25 calories from fat and 80 overall per serving. The outside label also indicated there was 1 gram of fat per serving, whereas the inside labels said there were 3 grams.

Del Monte and DeBenedetto settled the suit in August, with De Benedetto receiving $3,000. Since it was impossible to find out who else bought the mislabeled tuna, Del Monte agreed to pay $20,000 or an equal amount in food to a food bank.

Wolf’s firm did some research and suggested the Mercer Street Friends group, which asked for the donation in food rather than cash.

So last month, a truck delivered “2,112 cans of beef broth, 2,448 cans of cut green beans and similar amounts of diced pears, tuna, tuna lunch packets, spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, tropical fruit cans, corn and stewed tomatoes,” to the center, the Times reports.

“This donation will provide meals for hundreds of people,” food bank Director Phyllis Stoolmacher told the newspaper.

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