Something fishy on your plate: Study finds rampant mislabeling of seafood sold in U.S.
In this 2008 photo released by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, red snapper, foreground, caught by commercial fishermen in the fall of 2008 is boxed at a dock in Mount Pleasant, S.C., before being taken to market to be sold to restaurants. / AP Photo/South Atlantic Fishery Management Council
A third of the seafood sold in the United States is mislabeled and consumers don't have a clue, new research has found.
According to the conservation organization Oceana, fish sold as snapper has the highest mislabeling rate. The group's the study shows that 87 percent of the time you think you're buying snapper, you're actually being given something else.
Tuna was next on the list as 59 percent of the samples were identified by DNA analysis as something other than what was on the label. Oceana claims its study is one of the largest seafood fraud investigations in the world to date.
Oceana analyzed 1,215 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states between 2010 and 2012. The group's research was restricted to retail outlets including restaurants, sushi outlets and grocery stores. The group did not identify individual outlets as it could not say exactly where in the supply chain the seafood fraud occurred.
Headlines: One-third of seafood sold mislabeled
The group called for a comprehensive and transparent traceability system - one that tracks fish from boat to plate - to be established at the national level. It also demanded increased inspection and testing of U.S. seafood, specifically for mislabeling, and stronger federal and state enforcement of existing laws combating fraud.
"Our government has a responsibility to provide more information about the fish sold in the U.S., as seafood fraud harms not only consumers' wallets, but also every honest vendor and fisherman cheated in the process;to say nothing of the health of our oceans," the group said.
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