TORONTO, May 14, 2006 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX News Network) — (TSX: CBF.UN) Connors Bros. Income Fund today announced that its United States operating company, Bumble Bee Seafoods, has achieved a major victory over California Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who attempted to place methyl mercury warnings on canned tuna through the state\’s Proposition 65. Bumble Bee, together with other major U.S. tuna canners, presented undisputable scientific and nutritional evidence reaffirming for the court and public that their tuna products are healthy and safe.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Robert Dondero ruled in favor of the tuna canners and consumers in the Proposition 65 case after hearing nearly two months of testimony on naturally occurring methyl mercury in seafood. He ruled in favor of the tuna companies on all three central issues in the case.
\”We are very pleased that the court recognized that the Attorney General\’s attempt to scare Californians away from eating canned tuna was completely inappropriate,\” said Connors Bros. Income Fund President and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Lischewski. \”Despite the confusing and misleading information surrounding canned tuna in recent months, the judge reviewed the facts without influence from politics or special interest groups and made a positive ruling based on nutrition and real science.\”
Judge Dondero reasoned that increased warnings against seafood would cause more harm than good by needlessly scaring people away from canned tuna. He found that the level of methyl mercury in canned tuna did not require a warning under Proposition 65.
Lischewski said, \”Connors Bros. Income Fund views this outcome as an opportunity to grow long-term tuna consumption in our main marketplace, the U.S.\” He added, \”Canned tuna is a very convenient and affordable form of nutrition. Importantly, it\’s an extraordinarily nutritious source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.\”
Lischewski referred to the growing body of evidence that the omega-3 fatty acids in seafood such as canned tuna are associated with good heart health, optimal brain function and cognition, improved eye and skin health, and protection against certain cancers.
A major study by the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis confirms that the health benefits of consuming seafood far outweigh any risk due to trace amounts of mercury. Published in the November 2005 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the study concludes that for women of childbearing age, cognitive benefits can be achieved with virtually no negative impact on the developing child if women of childbearing age eat two servings a week of fish that are low in methyl mercury. The Harvard researchers further indicated that if people reduce their fish consumption out of confusion about methyl mercury, there could be serious public health consequences, notably higher death rates from heart disease and stroke.
Connors Bros. Income Fund is an unincorporated open-ended trust established under the laws of the Province of Ontario that indirectly owns, through its subsidiaries, a 100% interest in Clover Leaf Seafoods, L.P. and Bumble Bee Seafoods. Together, these two operating companies comprise North America\’s largest branded seafood company. The company offers a full line of canned tuna, salmon, sardine and specialty seafood products, marketed under leading brands including Clover Leaf(R), Bumble Bee(R), Brunswick(R), Snow\’s(R) and Beach Cliff(R), as well as a full-line of canned chicken and canned meat products in the U.S. under the Castleberry\’s(R) and Sweet Sue(R) brand names.
The statements contained in this news release that are forward-looking are based on current expectations, and are subject to a number of uncertainties and risks, and actual results may differ materially. These uncertainties and risks include, but are not limited to: availability of resource, competitive pressures and changes in market activity, risks associated with U.S. and international sales and foreign exchange, and regulatory requirements. Further information can be found in the disclosure documents filed by Connors Bros. Income Fund with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities, available at www.sedar.com.
SOURCE: Connors Bros. Income Fund