Study: 33% Of Seafood Nationwide Is Mislabeled; Red Snapper Impostors Prevalent

After releasing smaller parts of its study regarding New York City and other parts of the country, conservation group Oceana has published its full report on the seafood industry’s labeling problems nationwide, and it ain’t pretty. The two-year study investigated seafood fraud, using more than 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retail locations in 21 states to see if they were labeled correctly. About a third of the time, they weren’t.

This is in line with the smaller bits of the study Ocean published earlier regarding individual cities, but it’s still somewhat shocking to see that it holds across the board. Using U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines, Oceana says DNA testing shows that 33% of samples were mislabeled.

The biggest offender in the school (because it’s fish, get it?) were samples of food sold as snapper and tuna. Those bore the wrong labels 87% and 59% of the time, respectively. Red snapper was so bad, only seven out of a whopping 120 samples bought nationwide were the real thing. All the rest were impostors.

As before, these results don’t point to a food safety problem per se, but more of a transparency issue when it comes to the consumer. A customer is paying for one thing and buying another, which amounts to fraud in the marketplace. And of course there are some who could be negatively affected by eating the wrong fish, like pregnant or nursing women, or people with specific fish allergies.

For highlights from the testing results, as well as a map of the results to see what kind of fraud happened in your area, check the source link below. No restaurants or retail outlets are identified by name.

Oceana Study Reveals Seafood Fraud Nationwide [Oceana]