Thursday, February 21, 2013

Getting even fishier

And if you think that pun is bad, there are even more in this article on fraud in seafood sales:

Some learnings from this piece:
*  It's not just low end joints, like fast food places, which practice seafood fraud; sushi restaurants are among the worst offenders.
*  Mislabeling may affect health (allergies, mercury levels), environmental health (obviously), and the pocketbook (when cheaper species are substituted for and labeled as more expensive ones).
*  What's sold as snapper might be anyone of 33 different species of fish, though there is also abundant mislabeling of tuna and cod.

Legislation is needed to coordinate and render effective efforts to increase traceability (the magic word in food safety these days).

In the meantime, here's some good consumer advice from the last paragraph of the article: "[Beth Lowell of the ocean conservation group Oceana] recommends that consumers empower themselves by purchasing whole fish, which are easier to identify, and not trusting prices that seem too good to be true. She also encourages asking questions of fish vendors, such as what kind of fish it is, whether it was wild-caught or farm-raised and where, when and how the fish was caught. Even raising the question will alert the sales staff that consumers are interested in where their food comes from - and that they won’t settle for anything fishy."

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