Bumble Bee Foods

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Bumble Bee Foods, LLC
OwnerFCF Co, Ltd.
Bumble Bee Seafoods Building in San Diego's Petco Park
Bumble Bee Foods in Santa Fe Springs, California

Bumble Bee Foods, LLC, is a company that produces canned tuna, salmon, other seafoods, and chicken under the brand names "Bumble Bee," "Wild Selections," "Beach Cliff," "Brunswick," and "Snow's."[1] The company is headquartered in San Diego, California, United States. The brand is marketed as Clover Leaf in Canada. It is owned by FCF Co, Ltd. of Taiwan.


The Bumble Bee company began in 1899 when seven salmon canners in Astoria, Oregon, formed the Columbia River Packers Association (CRPA) under the leadership of Andrew B. Hammond.[2][3] The Bumble Bee brand was introduced in 1910.[2] The CRPA incorporated in 1924, and in 1946, Transamerica acquired a controlling interest in CRPA, Inc.[3] After partnering with Wards Cove Packing Company in 1959, CRPA became the world's largest salmon packer.[3] In 1961, Castle & Cooke acquired CRPA by merger and changed the name of the company to Bumble Bee Seafoods after its most famous brand.[3]

1977 magazine ad for Bumble Bee tuna.

Since the mid-1980s, Bumble Bee has gone through a number of ownership changes, beginning with Castle & Cooke's sale of Bumble Bee in a leveraged buyout to management in 1985. The management team, having paid off their leveraged debt before their 5-year goal, sold Bumble Bee to Pillsbury in 1988 contingent upon the president, Patrick Rose, and the management team staying on for five years,[4] Pillsbury in turn, following its December 1988, hostile takeover by Grand Metropolitan PLC, was forced to sell the brand the next year to the Thai company Unicord.[5] Bumble Bee went bankrupt in 1997, and was sold to International Home Foods, the former food unit of American Home Products. ConAgra Foods acquired International Home Foods in 2000; it sold Bumble Bee to the private equity firm Centre Partners in 2003. The Canadian company Connors Brothers Limited merged with Bumble Bee in 2004. The company was renamed Bumble Bee Foods, LLC in 2005.[2] Centre Partners acquired the company again in 2008 and sold it to Lion Capital in 2010.

In August 2015, Bumble Bee Foods was sued, accused of colluding with Chicken of the Sea and StarKist to fix prices.[6] Bumble Bee's former CEO, Christopher Lischewski, was indicted in May 2018 for price fixing.[7] After pleading not guilty he was found guilty of conspiring to fix prices of cans of tuna sold in the US from November 2010 to December 2013.[8]

Bumble Bee Foods was in talks to merge with Chicken of the Sea, but the merger was called off on December 3, 2015, after the Department of Justice expressed "Serious Concerns" raised by Olean Wholesale Grocery, a regional wholesaler that had sued the two companies over alleged Sherman Antitrust Act violations.[1][9]


In 1982, 40 million cans of Bumble Bee tuna were recalled due to holes in some cans.[10] In 2007, a case of botulism caused by food produced at a Castleberry's Food Company plant owned and operated by Bumble Bee prompted a recall. In 2010, the USDA announced a recall of Bumble Bee chicken salad products due to pieces of plastic found in packaging.[11]

2019 bankruptcy[edit]

On November 21, 2019, Bumble Bee Parent, Inc. and four affiliated companies filed for bankruptcy in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware The company has filed a motion to approve the sale of the company's assets. FCF Co, Ltd. acquired Bumble Bee in March 2020, for $928 million.[12]

Death of Jose Melena[edit]

On October 11, 2012, Jose Melena entered an industrial oven at the Santa Fe Springs, California Bumble Bee plant, loading cans of tuna for sterilization. Other workers, who were unaware of Melena's presence in the oven, loaded 12,000 pounds of tuna, trapping Melena inside. Over two hours, Melena was cooked to death and was only discovered by responding emergency-services from Whittier, California Fire Department, Melena's death was described by Los-Angeles Deputy District Attorney Hoon Chun as "the worst circumstances of death I have ever, ever witnessed," and that "I think any person would prefer to be, if they had to die some way, to be shot or stabbed."[13][14]

In 2013, the company was fined nearly $74,000 and cited for six safety violations for the death[15] and an additional $750,000 in fines, penalties and court costs in 2015.[16] In April 2015, felony charges related to the accident were brought against the company, the director of plant operations, and the director of safety. The Los Angeles district attorney alleged that the accused willfully violated worker safety rules.[17] To settle the criminal charges, Bumble Bee Foods agreed to pay $6 million, while two managers were to pay a total of $30,000 in fines.[18]


The company formerly ran a cannery in Astoria, Oregon, the Samuel Elmore Cannery, which had been designated a National Historic Landmark. The deteriorating structure was later slated for demolition, and the facility burned down in 1993. Today the company has canneries in Santa Fe Springs, California.[2]


The brand is known for its "Yum Yum Bumble Bee" advertising jingle.[19] The jingle was adapted into a song by the ska band Mephiskapheles on their 1994 record God Bless Satan.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee Abandon Tuna Merger After Justice Department Expresses Serious Concerns". 3 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "All About Bumble Bee". Bumble Bee Foods. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Martin, Irene. "Columbia River Packers Association". The Oregon Encyclopedia.
  4. ^ "Bumble Bee Seafoods L.L.C. History". Funding Universe. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  5. ^ "Company News; Bumble Bee Seafoods Sold to Thai Concern". The New York Times. August 17, 1989. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  6. ^ "Lawsuit alleges StarKist colluded over prices; Ansys reports dip in profits; Arnet steps aside at Women and Girls Foundation". Pittsburgh Star Gazette. 6 August 2015. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  7. ^ McLean, Rob. "Bumble Bee CEO indicted for tuna price-fixing scheme". CNN Money. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  8. ^ "Former CEO Convicted of Fixing Prices For Canned Tuna". US Dept of Justice. 3 December 2019. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  9. ^ "Chicken of Sea, Bumble Bee Abandon Tuna Merger as US Objects". ABC News. Retrieved 2015-12-04.
  10. ^ Burros, Marian (June 9, 1982). "Recall Of Tuna Proceeds Slowly". The New York Times. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  11. ^ Saltzman, Sammy (December 6, 2010). "Chicken Salad Recalled By Bumble Bee (Complete Product List)". CBS News. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  12. ^ "Taiwanese company acquires Bumble Bee Foods". Food Business News. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  13. ^ "StackPath". www.ehstoday.com. Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  14. ^ Michaud, Stephanie (2017-01-26). "Cooked to death in agony for two hours: Gruesome guilty plea by Bumble Bee Foods". MyNewsLA.com. Retrieved 2021-01-31.
  15. ^ Vives, Ruben (May 10, 2013). "Details emerge about how Bumble Bee worker died in pressure cooker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  16. ^ "Bumble Bee to Pay $6 Million Over Employee Cooked in Tuna Oven". NBC News.
  17. ^ "Bumble Bee charged in gruesome worker oven death". CNN Money. April 28, 2015. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Bumble Bee to pay $6M in oven death; 2 managers will pay $30K". Safety News Alert. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  19. ^ "Bumble Bee Seafoods Launches First Brand Marketing Campaign Since 1987" (Press release). Business Wire. April 28, 1998. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  20. ^ Thompson, Dave (2000). Alternative Rock. Hal Leonard Corp. p. 113. ISBN 0-87930-607-6.

Further reading[edit]

  • Martin, Irene; Roger Tetlow (2011). Flight of the Bumble Bee: The Columbia River Packers Association & a Century in the Pursuit of Fish. Long Beach, WA: Chinook Observer. ISBN 978-0615548456.

External links[edit]