Mislabeled fish rampant in the U.S.

New York Times 2013

According to a New York Times article by Kirk Johnson, a recently released study shows that the fish being served on tables across America is chronically mislabeled, either through error or through misrepresentation.

The study was conducted by Oceana, a non-profit ocean protection group,  who looked at seafood being sold in sushi bars, stores and restaurants in 12 regions around the country.  Fish was purchased during normal operations, and then sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Results varied widely depending on the region.   Southern California had the poorest showing, with over 52% of the fish tested being mislabeled.

Seattle tied with Boston for the area with the most reliably labeled fish.  However, in what has to qualify as a distinctly “good news/bad new” caveat, almost 20% of the fish tested in Seattle was mislabeled…better than the national average but nothing to brag about.

For me, the most alarming statistic was that concerning the distinction between wild caught and farm raised salmon.   Almost two third of salmon labeled “wild caught” that was tested by Oceana turned out to be farm raised Atlantic salmon.  Farm raised salmon has been faulted as being less health, containing chemical additives, antibiotics and hormones and being a source of environmental pollution. In other words, you don’t really want to be eating the stuff, but, given the inaccuracy of labeling, who knows if you are?

It really does pay to know and trust your fish monger.



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