Testing fish DNA

A nonprofit aims to detect fraud

September 4, 2012

You may remember the stories about teenage science students and the Boston Globe busting local vendors and restaurants for mislabeling their fish. But did you know that Oceana, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans, is trying to do the same thing nationwide?

As the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported, Oceana is testing the DNA of fish samples to detect fraud — to see if a fish was “actually what the menu said it was and determine if, as advertised, the seafood was really wild and local or if it was shipped from a fish farm.”

So far, the results aren’t promising: “In South Florida . . . results showed that 31 percent of the fish tested at restaurants and markets was mislabeled. In Los Angeles, 55 percent, and in Boston, 48 percent of the fish sold was not what it was touted to be. . . . Oceana found that 87 percent of the sushi venues tested misrepresented the fish being served, the worst record of any type of restaurant. Thirty-one percent of grocery stores misidentified fish.”

There is 1 comment on this item
Add a comment
1. by Brad Brown on Sep 5, 2012 at 4:16 PM PDT

Wow, that is fascinating. I can’t believe it isn’t illegal to mislabel fish. Like, what if someone has an allergic reaction to a certain type?

Add a comment

Think before you type

Culinate welcomes comments that are on-topic, clean, and courteous. For the benefit of the community we reserve the right to delete comments that contain advertising, personal attacks, profanity, or which are thinly disguised attempts to promote another website.

Please enter your comment

Format: Bare URLs are automatically linked; use this style: [http://www.example.com "place text to be linked here"] for prettier links. You may specify *bold* or _italic_ text. No HTML please.

Please identify yourself

Not a member? Sign up!

Please prove that you’re not a computer

Dinner Guest

The gamification of cooking

Earning points

Most of the time with cooking and eating, the rules are clear.

Graze: Bites from the Site
First Person

The secret sharer

A father’s legacy

The Culinate Interview

Mollie Katzen

The vegetarian-cooking pioneer


Down South

Barbecue, tamales, cocktails, and more

Local Flavors

A winter romesco sauce

Good on everything

Editor’s Choice