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That Fish Probably Isn't What You Think

DNA tests reveal widespread mislabeling

The fish at grocery stores and restaurants in New York City is often mislabeled, according to a new study. The conservation group Oceana conducted DNA analysis of around 150 samples of fresh seafood from 81 different suppliers and found that 39 percent were mislabeled.

While there are laws protecting consumers from mislabeling, it's often difficult to detect. “There are a lot of flummoxed people out there who are trying to buy fish carefully and trying to shop their conscience,” said Oceana senior scientist Kimberly Werner, “but they can’t if this kind of fraud is happening.”

The study points out that mislabelling could prove a health risk: 94 percent of fish labeled “white tuna” was not tuna at all, but often snake mackerel, which causes diarrhea if consumed in large quantities. Fish listed as red snapper, one of the most expensive species, was found to be white bass, ocean perch, tilapia, and tilefish, the last of which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advises against eating due to its high mercury content. Oceana's previous surveys have found 31 percent of fish mislabeled in Miami, 48 percent in Boston, and 55 percent in Los Angeles.

Via New York Times

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Filed To: News