Seafood fraud: Is it a problem?

Americans have doubled their seafood consumption in the past 50 years, eating about $80 billion worth of fish annually. Beyond traditional fish and seafood sales, more than 5,000 grocery stores sell sushi today.

Yet, one-third of seafood sold today is falsified according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines, says an oceans-protection group. Oceana is the latest organization making news nationwide by claiming fish fraud is costing consumers significantly as cheaper counterparts are being sold as premium choices.

Hundreds of species of fish and shellfish are sold in U.S. grocery stores, yet most consumers have a difficult time comparing price, species and origin of the product they are buying. With increasing news coverage that less-expensive species are inadvertently or intentionally being sold as such sought-after fish as Atlantic cod, red snapper and wild salmon, consumers have begun to question the retail stores they’ve trusted.

Whether fish come from a lake, river or ocean, seafood substitution can happen at any point in the supply chain. Given the visual similarity of such product, even the most experienced buyers frequently cannot detect fraud when they see it.


What can you do?

Retail sales of seafood products depend upon a quality reputation. Recent media coverage is raising critical questions that today’s grocery stores must answer with reliable, objective assurance information. So what can you do to ensure the trust your customers need?

 Now there’s a solution. You have the opportunity to be US SVS Species Certified, verifying the reliability of product purchasing and increasing consumer confidence. Certification includes not only seafood testing according to federally-accepted standards, but the ability to share your commitment to food safety, environmental responsibility, and market integrity through use of the US SVS Species Certified signage and labeling within your retail environment.

© U.S. Seafood Verification Service 2014.  All rights reserved.