Torrance Seafood Company to Pay $1 Million in Fines

Comments (0)


Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Erizo Cebicheria: Fish

Torrance-based Seafood Solutions Inc. was sentenced yesterday to pay $1 million in fines and community service payouts for falsely labeling frozen fish fillets. (You mean those Gorton's fish sticks weren't mahi mahi? We, for one, are shocked.)

In approximately June 2004, Seafood Solutions began to sell a fish it declared to customs as "ponga." The fish was actually Pangasius hypophthalmus, a species in the catfish family. It was misleadingly labeled as "Paradise Grouper" and "Falcon Baie Grouper."

Even after a wholesale distributor returned more than $400,000 worth of the product because one of its customers mistakenly believed the fish was grouper, Seafood Solutions continued to sell the mislabeled fish. Between February and April 2006, nearly $2 million worth of Pangasius fillets were knowingly sold as "Paradise Grouper" and "ponga."

Seafood Solutions was fined $700,000 and ordered to make a community service donation of $300,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The money will fund projects related to methodologies, databases and other research into the identification of marine organisms.

The corporation also was sentenced to three years' probation, ordered to forfeit all remaining inventory of falsely labeled fish and to develop and implement a corporate compliance plan.

Seafood Solutions was convicted in July 2011 of trafficking in fish in violation of the Lacey Act. Two co-defendants, Chau-Shing (Duke) Lin and Christopher Ragone, also pleaded guilty. Lin, 64, of Rancho Palos Verdes, pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Lacey Act and one count of misbranding food. Ragone, 50, of Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to two counts of misbranding food. Lin and Ragone are scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 13.

Follow Squid Ink at @LAWeeklyFood and check out our Facebook page. Follow the author at @ElinaShatkin or contact her at eshatkin@laweekly.com.

Related Content

Now Trending


  • Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar
    Malibu Pier Restaurant and Bar, with chef Jason Fullilove at the helm, is in the two buildings at the pier’s entrance that used to be Beachcomber Cafe and Ruby’s Diner. Those buildings, which have been overhauled completely, reflect both the pier’s 109-year-old history and the cultural import of Malibu itself.
  • The Tasting Menu Trend
    In Los Angeles especially, but increasingly across the country, restaurants are either switching to tasting menus, putting a greater focus on a tasting-menu option (while offering à la carte items as well), or opening as tasting-menu operations from day one. The format that used to be the calling card of only the fanciest of restaurants is becoming ubiquitous, even at places where the waiter calls you “dude” and there isn’t a white tablecloth in sight.
  • Milo's Kitchen: A Treat Truck for Dogs
    Milo's Kitchen, a part of California-based Big Heart Pet Brands, is taking its homestyle dog treats on the road this summer with the "Treat Truck." The dogified food truck is making stops all over the country, ending up in New York early September. The truck stopped at Redondo Beach Dog Park Friday morning entertaining the pups with treats, a photo-booth and play zone. Milo's Kitchen Treat Truck offered samples of the line's six flavors, all with chicken or beef as the first ingredient, and all made in the U.S.A. with no artificial colors or preservatives. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.