If you're thinking of ordering the expensive red snapper next time you eat out, save your money. More than 90% of the red snapper sold nationally is actually something else.
WHAT ARE YOU EATING?
Seafood fraud includes any number of dishonest practices like species substitution and false labeling to avoid tariffs – all behaviors that hurt consumers, the environment, and the industry alike. A recent study found one third of seafood tested at grocery stores, restaurants and sushi bars was misrepresented. Common species such as red snapper, grouper and Atlantic cod were all erroneously labeled. The complex path that seafood travels from boat to plate allows many opportunities for fraud. As an example, the U.S. imports more than 90 percent of all seafood consumed domestically, yet only around two percent is inspected at the border and less than one percent is specifically inspected for fraud.
“Swapping a lower-cost fish for a higher-value one is like ordering a filet mignon and getting a hamburger instead,” said author and expert Margot Stiles in a recent well-publicized report. “If a consumer eats mislabeled fish even just once a week, they could be losing up to hundreds of dollars each year due to seafood fraud.”
© U.S. Seafood Verification Service 2014. All rights reserved.