|[December 11, 2012]
Oceana Uncovers Widespread Seafood Fraud in New York City
NEW YORK --(Business Wire)--
Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to
protect the world's oceans, found 39 percent of seafood to be mislabeled
in the New York City-area, according to a new
report released today. DNA testing of 142 seafood samples from 81
retail outlets, including grocery stores, restaurants and sushi venues,
confirmed that 56 samples were mislabeled according to United States
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines.
"It's unacceptable that New York seafood lovers are being duped more
than one-third of the time when purchasing certain types of fish," said
Dr. Kimberly Warner, report author and senior scientist at Oceana. "Not
only are New Yorkers being cheated when buying fraudulent fish, but
those wanting to choose their seafood wisely for health, religious or
conservation concerns are being seriously misled."
Oceana's investigation in the New York City-area, including Manhattan,
Brooklyn, Queens and other surrounding towns, targeted species with
regional significance like cod as well as those that were found to be
mislabeled in previous studies such as red snapper, white tuna and wild
Among the report's key findings include:
58 percent of the retail outlets sampled sold mislabeled fish (three
Small markets had much higher fraud (40 percent) than national chain
grocery stores (12 percent).
100 percent of the 16 sushi venues tested sold mislabeled fish.
Tilefish, on the FDA's do-not-eat list because of its high mercury
content, was substituted for red snapper and halibut n one small
94 percent of the "white tuna" was not tuna at all, but escolar, a
snake mackerel that has a toxin with purgative effects for people who
eat more than a small amount of the fish.
Thirteen different types of fish were sold as "red snapper," including
tilapia, white bass, goldbanded jobfish, tilefish, porgy/seabream,
ocean perch and other less valuable snappers.
"Everywhere we look, we find seafood fraud, and New York City is no
exception," said Beth Lowell, campaign director at Oceana. "Seafood
fraud is a national problem that requires national attention.
Traceability, tracking fish from boat to plate, will ensure that seafood
is safe, legal and honestly labeled while preventing consumers from
getting ripped off. "
Oceana and others also recently uncovered shocking levels of seafood
mislabeling in the Boston
(48 percent), Los
Angeles (55 percent) and Miami
(31 percent) areas. Oceana is now urging Congress to pass the Safety
in Fraud and Enforcement for Seafood (SAFE Seafood) Act, H.R. 6200,
which would require full traceability for all seafood sold in the U.S.
The bill, introduced this summer by Reps. Edward Markey (D-MA), Barney
Frank (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC), will likely be reintroduced next
year and would take actions to stop seafood fraud that hurts our oceans,
our wallets and our health.
To read Oceana's new report, please visit www.oceana.org/nycfraudreport.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to
protect the world's oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans
using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2
million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks,
dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 550,000 supporters have
already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North,
South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.
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