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According to a recent report and blog post from Oceana, one of the largest international non-profits working to protect the world’s oceans, over 50% of sampled seafood from Southern California grocery stores and restaurants was mislabeled. Fraud was detected in 11 out of 18 types of fish purchased, with 100 percent (34 out of 34) of the ‘snapper’ labeling being wrong. All of the fish labeled as ‘Red Snapper’ in the study were substituted with Tilapia, Pollock or another species of rock fish.
In May and December of 2011, Oceana staff and supporters collected 119 seafood samples from grocery stores, restaurants and sushi venues in Los Angeles and Orange counties. The targeted species included those that were found to be mislabeled in previous studies as well as those with regional significance such as wild salmon, Dover or other regional soles, red snapper, yellowtail and white tuna.
Fraud was detected in 11 out of 18 different types of fish purchased. Every single fish sold with the word “snapper” in the label (34 out of 34) was mislabeled, according to federal guidelines. Nearly nine out of every ten sushi samples was mislabeled. Eight out of nine sushi samples labeled as “white tuna” were actually escolar, a species that carries a health warning for it purgative effects.