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Trader Joe's not trading fair with its canned tuna

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Cool specialty grocery store chain Trader Joe's appears to be cheating tuna lovers without their knowledge, selling tuna cans in their stores in underfilled cans — and that's not cool.

It's also illegal.

A class action lawsuit against Trader Joe's was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Jan. 5. The suit accuses Trader Joe's of underfilling 5-ounce cans of its store-brand tuna, which is in violation of the federally mandated minimum standard fill of 3.23 ounces for these cans, said court documents.

According to government standards, a 5-ounce can of tuna must contain at least 3.23 ounces of meat (or 2.84 ounces, in the case of Skipjack tuna). But Trader Joe's canned tuna weighed in at an average of roughly 17% below the federally mandated minimums across six tested store brand varieties.

Tests by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed the cans had an average of only about 2.43 ounces to 2.87 ounces of tuna, depending on the tuna version, according to court documents. Two 24-can samples of tuna versions with reduced salt and no salt were found to be almost 25% below required federally mandated fill standards.

The Monrovia, California-based grocery store company is involved in the processing, packaging and distribution of its tuna, according to court documents.

The named plaintiff filing the class action lawsuit, Sarah Magier, a citizen of New York, had purchased a no-salt can at the end of 2013.