Oceana investigates seafood fraud
The braised chunk of fish labeled "Local Halibut Filet" at a posh San Francisco restaurant where a group of food sleuths were eating looked appetizing, but the first two bites were forked into a little plastic container filled with a preservative salt concoction.
Later that day, Geoff Shester, California program director for the nonprofit group Oceana, would send the preserved morsels, along with more than 30 other samples taken from a variety of San Francisco restaurants, to a laboratory for DNA testing.
The idea, he said, is to find out whether the halibut - plus the sand dabs, Pacific snapper, wild sturgeon and other fish sold at local restaurants - 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.
It is now possible to determine exactly what species is being served at the local fish shack, thanks to recent advances in genetic sequencing. Oceana, a group dedicated to preserving the ocean ecosystem, is testing fish nationwide to find out whether seafood fraud is as widespread as some people think it is.