Oceana releases report on cost of seafood fraud


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
August 6, 2013

On Wednesday, Oceana released a report examining the economic cost of seafood fraud that is passed on to U.S. consumers.

According to the report, consumers who think they are purchasing a high-quality fish could actually be getting a cheaper fish worth half the price.

“Swapping a lower cost fish for a higher value one is like ordering a filet mignon and getting a hamburger instead,” said Margot Stiles, Oceana senior scientist. “If a consumer eats mislabeled fish even just once a week, they could be losing up to hundreds of dollars each year due to seafood fraud.”

Oceana interviewed experts working in the seafood industry to determine what drives cost differences for different species, and reviewed 300 menus from 12 different cities to help estimate retail prices. According to the report, a diner who orders grouper but instead receives a filet of tilapia could be losing USD 10 (EUR) for an eight-ounce fillet, while mislabeling of farmed Atlantic salmon for wild salmon can add an extra USD 5 (EUR) to a customer’s bill. In addition, at grocery stores, fillets of higher-cost fish are priced USD 4 (EUR) more than cheaper substitutes.

“Consumers deserve to know their seafood is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled, including information like where, when and how it was taken out of the ocean. The more information that follows the fish, the harder it will be for fraudsters to rip off American consumers,” said Stiles.

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