Boston-area businesses busted for mislabeling
By Steven Hedlund, SeafoodSource editor
24 October, 2011
Nearly one in five fish fillets at Boston-area supermarkets are mislabeled, according to a new report from Oceana.
On Monday, the Washington, D.C., environmental group published a report in which it collected 88 seafood samples from 15 Boston-area stores owned by three prominent retailers, which were not named in the report. The samples were delivered to the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, for DNA testing. And of the 88 samples, 16 were mislabeled.
Oceana found that Atlantic cod was mislabeled as Pacific cod, and vice versa; yellowtail flounder was mislabeled as grey sole; and red snapper and lane snapper were mislabeled as vermilion snapper.
Kimberly Warner, Oceana senior scientist, told SeafoodSource on Thursday that the group is collecting its own seafood samples and getting them tested at independent laboratories as part of a new campaign to raise awareness of the prevalence of species substitution and other forms of seafood fraud. This is the first regional report that Oceana has published since May when it kicked off its campaign by releasing its “Bait and Switch” report.
“It is a shame that one in five Boston shoppers who are trying to make informed choices at seafood counters are being swindled,” said Warner in a press release. “The U.S. government should be doing more testing to ensure that consumers are not being deceived.”
Oceana’s latest report comes on the heels of a five-month Boston Globe investigation, in which the daily newspaper collected seafood samples from 134 Massachusetts restaurants and retail outlets and hired a laboratory to conduct DNA testing. The results, published as a two-part feature on Sunday and Monday were not good — the Globe found that 87 of 183 samples, or 48 percent, were mislabeled. (Click here to read part one and here to read part two.)
The Globe investigation focused primarily on restaurants, because that’s where the mislabeling was more prevalent. Legal Sea Foods, Bertucci’s and Blue Ginger were among the restaurants cited in the article.
Editor’s note: On Thursday, SeafoodSource is hosting a webinar titled “Cracking the code: The Latest Advancements in DNA Testing for Seafood” and featuring LeeAnn Applewhite of Applied Food Technologies, William Gergits of Therion International and Edward Diehl of ACGT Inc. Click here for more information on the webinar.
24 October, 2011