Fresh Del Monte Produce has settled two class action lawsuits brought on behalf of all US purchasers of bananas from the company and other banana producers.

The company and its subsidiary, Del Monte Fresh Produce Co., said it had entered into settlement agreements to dismiss the actions. The cases had been pending in a Florida court since 2005.

Under a settlement with direct purchasers of bananas, Fresh Del Monte has agreed to pay up to US$2.5m.

However, the second settlement, with indirect banana purchasers, is more complex. Fresh Del Monte has agreed to donate over $833,000 worth of fruit or other food products to a charity over the next year. The company will also make a payment towards the legal costs of those who brought the lawsuit.

"Fresh Del Monte has always maintained that these lawsuits are without merit and that the company has done absolutely no wrong with respect to its sales of bananas," said Fresh Del Monte's chairman and CEO Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh.

"However, Fresh Del Monte believes the settlement of these lawsuits, once finally approved by the court, is in the best interest of the company because it will dispose of these class action litigations and eliminate the continued burden, disruption, and expense of responding to and defending against the claims."