Newspaper investigating species substitution

The Boston Globe is set to publish an investigative report scrutinizing the prevalence of seafood species substitution and other types of economic fraud, three separate sources informed SeafoodSource on Wednesday. All three were contacted by the daily newspaper as part of the investigation.

According to sources, the Globe interviewed Thomas Katz of Burlington, Mass., who as president of Universal Group pleaded guilty in May 2010 to violating the Lacey Act for selling 3.4 million pounds of pangasius falsely labeled as grouper. The Globe apparently obtained transcripts of conversations authorities had with Katz, who revealed that economic fraud is commonplace within the seafood trade, according to an e-mail alert the National Fisheries Institute sent to its industry members on Wednesday.

Also as part of the investigation, the Globe collected seafood samples from local retail outlets and had them tested by a laboratory to identify the species and expose any mislabeling.

The report is expected to be published on Sunday. The Boston Globe, New England’s largest newspaper, has a Sunday circulation of about 380,000.

Click here to read a SeafoodSource interview with LeeAnn Applewhite, CEO of Applied Food Technologies, an Alachua, Fla., molecular diagnostics company. Applewhite is among three panelists leading a 27 October SeafoodSource webinar titled “Cracking the code: The Latest Advancements in DNA Testing for Seafood.” Click here for more information on the webinar. 


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