Tuna, or not?

More fishy labeling woes

February 21, 2013

Oceana, the nonprofit that’s been on a campaign to identify mislabeled fish, recently announced that, on average, a third of the fish sold in the U.S. is mislabeled. And that’s on average; some places get the labeling wrong 90 percent of the time.

The most frequently mislabeled fish in Oceana’s study were red snapper and tuna, both endangered species. And don’t think you’ll do better by going to a swanky restaurant; sushi joints were the biggest offenders in the mislabeling department.

Apart from getting hosed at the fish counter, why should consumers worry? Because, as National Geographic’s Ocean Views blog noted, eating the wrong fish can be bad news:

Fish on the FDA’s “DO NOT EAT” list for sensitive groups such as pregnant women and children because of their high mercury content were sold to customers who had ordered safer fish: tilefish sold as red snapper and halibut in New York City and king mackerel sold as grouper in South Florida.

Not to mention eating farmed fish when you think you’re getting wild, or unsustainable species when you think you’re supporting a sustainable fishery.

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