COLUMBIA, N.C. — A North Carolina seafood company owner admitted to selling almost 200,000 pounds of foreign crab meat falsely labeled domestic Atlantic blue crab for $4 million.
Charges were filed in June by the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of North Carolina saying Capt. Neill's Seafood of Columbia repackaged and mislabeled crab from Asia and South America as a "Product of the USA."
The charging documents accused the company of selling the mislabeled crab meat from 2012 through 2015.
The U.S. attorney said this gave owner Phillip Carawan a price advantage over his competition.
The Virginian-Pilot reported that a company statement acknowledged that a "small portion" of its crab meat didn't have a sticker accurately listing its country of origin. But the company said the meat was still high quality and safe to eat, and it says they've only sold correctly labeled domestic crab since then.
Carawan could face up to five years in prison. He will be sentenced next year.
© 2019 Associated Press