A seafood company here has been charged with selling nearly 200,000 pounds of foreign crab meat labeled as domestic Atlantic blue crabs.
Capt. Neill’s Seafood of Columbia, N.C., and owner and operator Phillip Carawan were charged with repackaging and mislabeling Asian and South American crab meat as a “Product of the USA,” according to charges filed June 26 by the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of North Carolina.
The company is charged with selling 179,872 pounds of mislabeled crab meat worth $4.1 million from 2012 through 2015, the court document said.
Capt. Neill’s buys and sells domestic and foreign crab meat. Employees steam, pick and package the meat for resale. At times, the meat is frozen, stored and sold according to demand, the court document said.
Capt. Neill’s employs about 350 people and buys from hundreds of fishermen, according to a release from the company.
The company acknowledged that more than four years ago, a “small portion” of its crab meat “should have been packed with a sticker accurately identifying its country of origin,” the release said. The crab meat was of high quality and safe to eat, the release said.
Over the last four years, the company has only sold correctly labeled domestic blue crab and is working with federal authorities regarding the charges, the release said.