New study reveals salmon mislabeling in US


Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
October 28, 2015

Environmental activist group Oceana has released a new study on seafood mislabeling, this time claiming that more than 40 percent of salmon samples proved to be somehow different from what the labels claimed they were.

Oceana said the study shows salmon was mislabeled to artificially inflate its value, either by labeling a cheaper species as one that is more expensive, or by labeling farmed salmon to be wild, which normally sells at a premium.

“Without traceability, it is nearly impossible to follow the fish from the farm or fishing boat to the dinner plate, said Kimberly Warner, Oceana senior scientist and author of the report. “What we end up eating is mostly cheaper, imported farmed salmon, sometimes masquerading as U.S. wild-caught fish.”

Oceana collected 82 separate samples of salmon from restaurants and grocery stores throughout the United States during the winter of 2013-2014, when wild salmon is out of season. By comparison, Oceana said a survey published in 2013 that covered the peak of the 2012 wild salmon harvest season found a mere 7 percent of salmon was mislabeled as wild.

Among its other findings, the Oceana study said diners were five times more likely to find mislabeled salmon in restaurants than grocery stores, shoppers were less likely to find mislabeled salmon in large grocery store chains and more likely to find mislabeled salmon while shopping when wild salmon was out of season.

“Traceability needs to be required for all seafood to ensure important information about which species it is, whether it was farmed or wild caught, and how and where it was caught follows all seafood from boat (or farm) to plate,” said Beth Lowell, Oceana’s senior campaign director. “Providing consumers with more information about their seafood allows them to make more informed decisions, whether it is for health, economic or environmental reasons.”

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