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SushiDNA testing has revealed that a significant portion of American seafood is being mislabeled and less than one percent of it is actually being tested for fraud.

Oceana, an international conservation organization, conducted a multi-state investigation between 2010 and 2012, analyzing over 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in the United States. What they found was that seafood is regularly mislabeled and with potentially hazardous consequences.

For instance, 84 percent of white tuna samples are actually escolar, a species of fish that has been known to cause digestive issues. Escolar has been banned in Japan since 1977 because the government considers it toxic. In Southern California, 52 percent of seafood was mislabeled. In Austin, Texas, every sushi sample was mislabeled. In South Florida, groupers actually turned out to be King Mackerel, a fish on the FDA’s DO NOT EAT list due to its high mercury content.

The author of the Oceana report, Dr. Kimberly Warner, calls some of these fish substitutions “disturbing.” But the real issue, as she told The Huffington Post, was that “[a]part from being cheated, many consumers are being denied the right to choose fish wisely based on health or conservation concerns.”

Oceana is calling on federal and state governments to create better inspection and testing standards and enforce existing laws to their full extent. The United States is the second largest consumer of seafood in the world, after China, and yet less than one percent of its seafood is tested for fraud.

This problem is not new. Ninety-one percent of America’s seafood is imported and, in 2012, 500 chefs across America petitioned the government to trace fish “from boat to plate.” The government has yet to take any decisive action.

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One Response

  1. Richard Mann says:

    Whenever You go to buy Fish from the supermarket, ask not only if the Fish is sustainable but also in which manner was it caught. I try to catch my own Fish….that way, I know I’m not taking any bi-catch, I’m killing the Fish in the most Humane Way possible (very important since that Being is making the ultimate sacrifice to help sustain my Life) and I KNOW what I’m eating. I no longer eat any large Fish species since their numbers are in such massive decline…and since it seems to take the government forever to get official labelling accurate and enforce laws, it is really up to Us, the People, to take real action. If You get a chance, watch the Australian documentary, “What’s the Catch”. Highly recommended and informative. If You care about the future of the Oceans, your Health and your Children, please don’t buy Shark (sometimes labelled as “flake”), any Tuna species, Swordfish, Snapper, Pantagonian Toothfish, etc. Maybe it’s a Good idea to Bing search or Google “sustainable seafood”. Better still, go out and catch your own Fish.

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