Worrying about diarrhea-inducing mislabeled fish was enough to keep us from our local sushi joint and that was before we found out the fraud was liquidating our wallets, too. The latest report from Oceana exposes the financial burden on consumers who are victims of food fraud, revealing that "commonly swapped species can cost up to twice as much as their cheaper counterparts."
"Swapping a lower cost fish for a higher value one is like ordering a filet mignon and getting a hamburger instead," quips Margot Stiles, author of the report and Oceana senior scientist. "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." For example, ordering what's labeled as grouper at a restaurant but is actually tilapia means customers are paying upwards of $12 for a cheaper variety of fish without realizing it.
Oceana's previous study found that one third of seafood in the U.S. was mislabeled at both grocery stores and at restaurants, so accept the fact that we've all been victim of this crime. To combat the rampant fraud, Congress introduced a bill more strict traceability for seafood sold in the U.S. “Consumers deserve to know their seafood is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled, including information like where, when and how it was taken out of the ocean," Stiles says. "The more information that follows the fish, the harder it will be for fraudsters to rip off American consumers."
We're all for more transparency.