There’s something fishy going on in a lot of places

On Monday I posted about my concern with escolar masquerading as  white tuna and butterfish. I did so as a result of a discussion I had on the weekend with a physician who loved butterfish and white tuna but also didn’t know the cause of his occasional stomach upsets after eating sushi.  Little did I know that the issue was to receive widespread attention on Tuesday due to a study conducted by the marine conservation group, Oceana.
Oceana’s investigation found the problem of widespread seafood fraud in the New York City area. A full 39 percent of seafood sold in New York City grocery stores, restaurants and sushi venues was found to be mislabeled.
The group has found similar levels of fraud in other U.S. cities.  In Boston, 48 per cent of seafood was mislabelled while in Los Angeles, it was a whopping  55 per cent and in Miami 31 percent.
The report, besides pointing to the “purgatory effects” of escolar, also raised a red flag about the use of tilefish. This type of fish is very high in mercury and should be avoided by pregnant and nursing women. It was being sold as red snapper and halibut.
In addition, for those concerned with choosing kosher species,  escolar and catfish – both non-kosher – were not properly identified.
Oceana is urging that congress pass an act in the U.S. which would require full traceability of all seafood sold in that country.
How about seeing some action on this issue in Canada?

xxx

Do you think the Canadian Food Inspection Agency should be taking action? Please share your thoughts on what should be done in the comment section below.

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Categories: Food Safety

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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2 Comments on “There’s something fishy going on in a lot of places”

  1. December 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    Yikes! That reminds me of a Marketplace episode that aired a couple years ago http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/2010/somethings_fishy/main.html

    • December 15, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

      Yes, thanks for the reminder. I did see that Marketplace segment and it brings up a number of issues. For one, consumers are getting ripped off in terms of how much money they spend on their choices. Plus this fraud is not letting consumers follow through on their choice of wild versus farmed as well as sustainability. I think that we need to see more attention being given to the escolar-white tuna-butterfish issue as this fraud is making people sick and they have no idea why.

      It’s time to ask the CFIA about the issue – something I plan to do. Stay tuned!

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