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Study: rampant labeling fraud of fish

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A conservation group claims that more than half of the fish that it sampled in the New York City area were mislabeled.

The Oceana's survey looked at 81 businesses during the summer of 2011 that sell or serve fish.

According to the study - "Bait and Switch: How Seafood Fraud Hurts Our Oceans, Our Wallets and Our Health"- DNA testing was used on the fish and found that a majority was labeled incorrectly.

In some cases, cheaper fish was sold for higher prices, but many consumers would not be able to tell the difference.

The group tested 150 types of fish.


The report claims:

•58 percent of the retail outlets sampled sold mislabeled fish
•Small markets had much higher fraud (40%) than national chains (12%)
•100% of the 16 sushi venues tested sold mislabeled fish
•Tilefish, on the FDA's do-not-eat list because of its high mercury content, was substituted for red snapper and halibut in one small market
•94% of the "white tuna" was escolar, a snake mackerel that has a toxin with purgative effects for people who eat more than a small amount of the fish
•13 types of fish were sold as "red snapper," including tilapia, white bass, goldbanded jobfish, tilefish, porgy/seabream, ocean perch and other snappersSome of the concerns over the mislabeling of fish beyond the price difference are the potential health complications.


Oceana is lobbying for passage of the Safety in Fraud and Enforcement for Seafood Act.  It would require full traceability for all seafood sold in the U.S.

For the full report, visit Oceana.org.

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