Investigation: One-third of U.S. seafood mislabeled

Investigation: One-third of U.S. seafood mislabeled

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by DANIELLE LEIGH / NBC

WCNC.com

Posted on February 21, 2013 at 7:11 PM

When you buy fish, you may not be getting what you pay for. A new fish fraud investigation found one-third of seafood sold in the U.S. is mislabeled.

So who's the worst offender and what can you do about it?

From fresh off the boat, all the way to your dinner plate, somewhere along the way seafood is getting mislabeled.

Oceana, an international ocean conservation group, tested fish from 674 retail outlets across the nation and found mislabeling everywhere they looked.

In Pennsylvania, 56-percent of the fish was mislabeled. Next up: Southern California at 52-percent. And in the nation's capitol: 26-percent.

Oceana campaign director Beth Lowell says, “Some of the concerns with the mislabeling have been some of the health impacts. We found high-mercury fish swapped out for lower-mercury fish.”

The study found sushi venues most often mislabeled their fish, followed by other restaurants, then grocery stores.
 
Snapper was the most commonly mislabeled fish. It was often replaced with something like Rockfish, but if you look closely, the filets are different. And if you look back at the fish's skin they are really different

Mark White runs a fresh seafood market.

He goes to great lengths to insure his fish is properly labeled.

“You can always buy the whole fish,” White says, “That way you know exactly what you are getting."

At restaurants, it's more difficult: the fish often ends up cooked or covered in a sauce.

Chef Ann Cashion of Johnny’s Half Shell Restaurant says, “You should always ask them where they got it, it's important.”

Chef Cashion says reputable places will know the answer.

But ultimately it comes down to trust. Right now, less than one-percent of seafood is inspected by the government for fraud.

Oceana wants lawmakers on Capitol Hill to mandate seafood tracking, to make sure it's safe, legal and properly labeled.
 

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