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Is yellowtail posing as mahi-mahi? Nile perch impersonating shark? Tilapia the understudy for almost any more expensive fish dish?
Just when we were getting comfortable with which fish were healthy to eat and not overfished ~ comes news that scientists with gene sequencers have discovered rampant labeling fraud in supermarkets and restaurants.
Fish Labeling Fraud
As you might expect if you were paranoid, cheaper fish are being substituted for expensive fillets, and overfished varieties presented as ecologically sound ones 20% to 25% of the time, with fish fraud rates running as high as 70% for some species ~ only you wouldn't be paranoid, because it's true, according to Elizabeth Rosenthal of the New York Times.
Know Your Seafood Vendor
Apparently, the tools to identify fish fraud are readily available and easy to use, but U.S. regulators (surprise, surprise) are lax in their duties. Labs that own the testing equipment charge as little as $1 per sample. Unfortunately, there's no pocket-size tester ~ we can't do it ourselves. But we can write the FDA and demand that they take the matter more seriously ... and get to know our seafood purveyors as well as we know our local farmers.
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