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October 24, 2011 at 8:00 AMComments: 3 Faves: 0

Fishy Business! Fish is Mislabled With Higher-Priced Names


The shocking results of a 5 month investigation by the Boston Globe were released today. Purposeful mislabeling of fish is not only occurring, it's running rampant!

In their review, investigators took fish samples from 134 restaurants, grocery stores and seafood markets which were then sent off to Canada for DNA testing. Though going into this fully prepared to find offenders, the results were more than they had ever imagined. 48% of the fish tested were being marketed and sold as a different type of fish! Even T.G.I. Friday's was found guilty as their "Key West Grouper" was actually exposed to be lower-quality (and priced) Vietnamese catfish.

The worst offenders they found  were those labeled "white tuna" and "red snapper". All but two of the 26 supposed "red snapper" samples were actually another type of fish. As for white tuna - NONE of the 23 samples were actually white tuna - or even another type of tuna. As the Globe found, most of these were actually escolar fish, “nicknamed the Ex-Lax of fish by some in the industry for the digestion problems it can cause.”

Eric Hesse, a cape cod fisherman wasn't surprised by the finding.

“Mislabeling fish is at a ridiculous level...The dealers and restaurants have a vested interest in keeping the illusion going. Every time they can say they are selling fresh, local fish and get away with selling [Pacific] frozen, they don’t have to buy it from us. It kills us.” he told the Globe.

According to the Oceana environmental group, a large part of this issue is due to the FDA's lax enforcement of seafood mislabeling laws.

“American consumers would be outraged if they ordered roast beef and they got horse meat or God forbid, whale meat.They should be outraged if they order snapper and they get tilapia or some endangered species."

In response, the FDA acknowledged they should be doing more and told reporters they now have nine new testing machines, people being trained on how to use them and they should be ready to hit the fields by next year.

Fortunately for now, at least Trader Joe's and Walmart got a clean bill!


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  • Wow. Just wow.

  • "Wow" is right. 48%?! That's just insane.

  • That's just sad and unfair to us as consumers. I am glad they caught people who were doing this.

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