Something’s Fishy & You Should Know About It

If you eat fish, then you owe it to yourself and your health to read this fraud report written by Collen Story for Health Renegade Kevin Gianni ( It’s a real eye-opener!

Royalty-Free Images: Fresh Fishes At Fish Market Stall, Close-Up View

Is the Fish You’re Eating the Fish You Think It Is?

by Collen Story

A February 2013 study by Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s ocean, reported that seafood fraud is widespread across the U.S. Independent DNA testing confirmed that a whopping one-third of the fish sampled were mislabeled.
One of the main concerns of the study: fish on the FDA’s “do not eat” list for sensitive groups like pregnant women were sold to customers who had ordered safer fish.
How can you tell if what you’re eating is what you think you’re eating?

More About the Study

To get the results they did, the researchers at Oceana tested 1,215 fish samples collected from 674 outlets in 21 states between 2010 and 2012. It was one of the largest seafood fraud investigations in the world to date. Results showed the following:
* One-third, or 33 percent, of the samples were mislabeled according to U.S. FDA guidelines.
* Mislabeling was found in 27 of the 46 fish types tested (59 percent).
* Only seven of the 120 red snapper samples were actually red snapper.
* Between one-fifth to more than one-third of the halibut, grouper, cod, and Chilean sea bass samples were mislabeled.
* A total of 84 percent of the white tuna samples were actually escolar—a species that can cause serious digestive issues for some sensitive people.
* Cheaper farmed fish were substituted for more wild fish. Examples include pangasius sold as grouper, sole, and cod; tilapia sold as red snapper; and Atlantic farmed salmon sold as wild or king salmon.
Overfished and vulnerable species were substituted for more sustainable catch. Examples include Atlantic halibut sold as Pacific halibut, and speckled hind sold as red grouper.

Outlet breakdown showed:

* 44 percent of all retail outlets sold mislabeled fish
* 74 percent of sushi venues had the worst level of mislabeling—the worst level of all retail outlets
* 38 percent of other restaurants sold mislabeled fish
* 18 percent of grocery stores sold mislabeled fish
Other results showed that of the most commonly collected types of fish, snapper and tuna had the highest mislabeling rates across the county at 87 and 59 percent, respectively.

Other Findings

In addition to these results, Oceana noted other findings, including the fact that today, more than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported. Less than one percent is inspected by the government specifically for fraud.
Because our fish often travels a long way to get to us, it becomes more and more difficult to determine where the fraud is occurring. It could be on the original fishing boat, during processing, at the retail counter, or somewhere else in between. It may be the result of honest mistakes, but often, it comes about because mislabeling disguises fish that are less desirable, cheaper, or more readily available, stuffing somebody’s pocketbook.
In fact, in an August follow-up to the February report, Oceana noted that Americans are paying a high price for fish fraud. Report author Margot Stiles noted that swapping a lower-cost fish for a higher-value one is like ordering a filet mignon and getting a hamburger instead. She added that if consumers eat mislabeled fish even once a week, they could be losing up to hundreds of dollars each year.
Oceana has called on the federal government to require traceability of all seafood sold in the U.S. Stiles noted that consumers deserve to know the seafood is safe, legally caught, and honestly labeled, including information like where, when, and how it was taken out of the ocean. The group supports the Safety and Fraud Enforcement for Seafood (SAFE) Act pending in Congress.

Tips to Help

Meanwhile, what can you do to increase the odds that what you order is what you get? Unless you do your own DNA testing, you can never be completely sure, but you can try these tips to increase your odds of getting the right thing.

If you eat fish:

* Go directly to the source: Skip the middleman and buy directly from the fishermen at the farmer’s market or pier.
* Trace and Trust: This is a program that provides information on the source of seafood. “Trace Register” is another one. Check with grocery chains like Wegmans and Whole Foods and other restaurants offering information through these companies. An ID number, when put into the computer, shows you the species, when the batch was caught, and a picture of the boat captain. The Marine Stewardship Council ( also offers certification of where seafood comes from, and Fish2Fork has a list of restaurants that serve sustainable seafood.
* Go with the odds: According to the study, flounder and tilapia were least likely to be mislabeled. Red snapper, grouper, and halibut were most likely to be mislabeled.
* Go to the supermarket: Grocery stores had the lowest rate of mislabeling. When in doubt, pick up something at the store and cook it up at home.
* Go big: Large national chains, like Whole Foods, were less likely to have problems than smaller chains and independent grocery chains, because most big guys have internal auditing procedures designed to prevent fish fraud.
* Go online: If you don’t live near the ocean and can’t talk directly to the fishermen, try ethical online stores including I Love Blue Sea or Vital Choice for your seafood purchases.



p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.

Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.


3 thoughts on “Something’s Fishy & You Should Know About It

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.