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Oceana Study Reveals Seafood Fraud Nationwide

February 21, 2013 Comments off

Oceana Study Reveals Seafood Fraud Nationwide

Source: Oceana

From 2010 to 2012, Oceana conducted one of the largest seafood fraud investigations in the world to date, collecting more than 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states to determine if they were honestly labeled.

DNA testing found that one-third (33 percent) of the 1,215 samples analyzed nationwide were mislabeled, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines.

Of the most commonly collected fish types, samples sold as snapper and tuna had the highest mislabeling rates (87 and 59 percent, respectively), with the majority of the samples identified by DNA analysis as something other than what was found on the label. In fact, only seven of the 120 samples of red snapper purchased nationwide were actually red snapper. The other 113 samples were another fish.

Our findings demonstrate that a comprehensive and transparent traceability system – one that tracks fish from boat to plate – must be established at the national level. At the same time, increased inspection and testing of our seafood, specifically for mislabeling, and stronger federal and state enforcement of existing laws combatting fraud are needed to reverse these disturbing trends.

Our government has a responsibility to provide more information about the fish sold in the U.S., as seafood fraud harms not only consumers’ wallets, but also every honest vendor and fisherman cheated in the process–to say nothing of the health of our oceans.

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New Report Describes How Seafood Fraud Hurts Our Oceans, Wallets and Health

May 27, 2011 Comments off

New Report Describes How Seafood Fraud Hurts Our Oceans, Wallets and Health
Source: Oceana

Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, today launched its new campaign to Stop Seafood Fraud at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. At the press briefing, Oceana and other experts explained how seafood fraud can come in many different forms – from mislabeling fish and falsifying documents to adding too much ice to packaging – and how it hurts our oceans, wallets and health.

“We can track organic bananas back to packing stations on farms in Central and Latin America, yet consumers are given little to no information about one of the most popular foods in the United States – seafood,” said Dr. Michael Hirshfield, senior vice president for North America and chief scientist for Oceana. “With imports representing the vast majority of the seafood eaten in the United States, it’s more important than ever to know what we are eating and where, when and how it was caught.”

Oceana also today released a new report entitled Bait and Switch: How Seafood Fraud Hurts Our Oceans, Our Wallets and Our Health. The report found that while 84 percent of the seafood eaten in the United States is imported, only two percent is currently inspected and less than 0.001 percent specifically for fraud. In fact, recent studies have found that seafood may be mislabeled as often as 25 to 70 percent of the time for fish like red snapper, wild salmon and Atlantic cod, disguising species that are less desirable, cheaper or more readily available.

“We’ve tested well over 1,000 fish fillet samples over the past four years, from more than 50 cities across the country,” said William Gergits, co-founder and managing member of Therion International, LLC, (Saratoga Springs, NY), a worldwide leader in DNA testing of seafood. “Results from our DNA lab show that about half the time (an average of 50 percent) the fish you are eating is not the species listed on the menu.”

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