NEW YORK — An Oceana study conducted at 142 foodservice operations in Manhattan, N.Y., Queens, N.Y., and Brooklyn, N.Y., revealed widespread seafood fraud.
The study, conducted by the international advocacy group that works to protect the world’s oceans, found 58 per cent of the 81 retail outlets sampled sold mislabelled fish. Small markets had significantly higher fraud (40 per cent) than national chain grocery stores (12 per cent), but all of the 16 sushi bars tested sold mislabelled fish.
More specifically, 94 per cent of the “white tuna” sold was escolar — a snake mackerel that has a toxin with “purgative” effects for people who eat large quantities — and 13 different types of fish were sold as “red snapper,” including tilapia, white bass and ocean perch.
Recent investigations by Oceana in Boston, Miami and Los Angeles, found mislabelling rates of up to 55 per cent for seafood sold in sushi bars, restaurants and grocery stores. “Everywhere seafood is tested, fraud has been found. Oceana’s studies have shown this is not just a regional problem, but a widespread, nationwide issue that needs federal attention,” reads the Oceana statement.
Oceana’s investigation focused on species substitution or the swapping of a lower-value or lower-quality fish for a more desirable species.
For the complete seafood fraud report, visit Oceana.org.