- Meet Ted
- Media Galleries
- Contact Me
- Sign up for my newsletter
LAIST: Seafood Fraud: Study Says 55% of Local Fish Are Mislabeled
April 17, 2012
Sushi lovers, set down your chopsticks. Recent tests on seafood sold at Los Angeles-area sushi bars, restaurants and grocery stores find that 55% of seafood is mislabeled.
Oceana, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, collected 119 seafood samples from grocery stores, restaurants and sushi eateries in L.A.and Orange counties in May and December 2011. Species found to be mislabeled in previous studies and those with regional significance, including wild salmon, Dover or other regional soles, red snapper, yellowtail and white tuna, were targeted. DNA testing concluded the shocking mislabeled percentage.
"It is disheartening to know that consumers are not getting wait they pay for," said Beth Lowell, campaign director at Oceana, in a release. "Seafood fraud is not only ripping off consumers, but it is putting their health at risk and undermining their efforts to eat sustainably."
The report also revealed the following:
Fraud was detected in 11 out of 18 different types of fish purchased.
Every fish sold with the word "snapper" in the label (34 out of 34) was mislabeled, according to federal guidelines.
Nearly nine out of every 10 sushi samples was mislabeled.
Eight out of nine sushi samples labeled as "white tuna" were actually escolar, a species that carries a health warning.
Pescetarians, if you've been teetering on the edge of veg, these findings could be that final needed nudge to eliminate fish from your diets. Seafood lovers, we can only hope the government ramps up its regulation efforts, for example, passing legislation (SB 1486), which was introduced earlier this year by California State Senator Ted W. Lieu (D-Torrance). Sponsored by Oceana, the measure would require large restaurant chains to accurately label their seafood by species, country of origin and whether it is farmed or wild.
"Consumers are being asked to guess what they are eating," said Dr. Kimberly Warner, senior scientist at Oceana. "With such high levels of mislabeling, it is more important than ever for the government to increase inspections and require traceability of our seafood."