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KTLA-TV LOS ANGELES: Report Finds Most of the Sushi Sold in L.A. is Mislabeled
April 16, 2012
LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- When you buy or order seafood in Los Angeles you may not be getting what you want, a new report says.
According to the report, released Monday by environmental advocacy group Oceana, the seafood is mislabeled more than half the time.
In May and December, Oceana collected 119 seafood samples from grocery stores, restaurants and sushi bars in Los Angeles and Orange County.
Researchers using DNA tests found that most of the fish was mislabeled, based on federal law.
When it comes to sushi, nearly nine out of 10 samples were mislabeled, according to the report.
The researchers found that what was sold as yellow tail was really a fish called Japanese amberjack.
Flounder was substituted for halibut, and sea bass was actually a fish called seabream.
In some cases, a fish with a health warning was sold as a different type of fish.
Eight out of nine sushi samples labeled as white tuna were actually escolar, which carries a health warning in the United States.
Oceana says 55 percent of all the fish samples it tested were mislabeled.
Eighty percent of the sushi they tested was mislabeled, as was 100 percent of the red snapper.
"Consumers buying fish labeled as 'red snapper' or any other type of snapper in Southern California could receive anything from tilapia to pollock, in addition to any one of the overfished or vulnerable rockfish species," the report says.
Oceana says this is happening for economic reasons.
If retailers can sell a cheaper fish as a more expensive kind, then they make more money, according to the researchers.
Oceana is asking for tougher government standards when it comes to the labeling of seafood.
It has sponsored legislation, introduced earlier this year by state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) that would require large restaurants chains to accurately label seafood by species.
PHOTO CAPTION: Nearly nine out of 10 sushi samples tested were mislabeled. (KTLA-TV)