Report: Seafood Fraud is Widespread

A few weeks ago we mentioned a Massachusetts effort to penalize mislabeled fish. The problem’s much bigger than just one state, though.

A new research report from conservation group Oceana found 33 percent of more than 1,200 U.S. samples it DNA-tested were mislabeled.

Snapper and tuna labels were the most frequently inaccurate: 87 and 59 percent of the time, respectively. Only seven out of 120 “red snapper” samples actually were that fish. Halibut and cod also had a one in five chance of being mislabeled.

Fish tested at sushi restaurants were inaccurate 74 percent of the time. All sushi restaurants tested in Chicago, Austin, New York, and Washington D.C. had some kind of mislabeled fish.

The study involved 674 locations in 21 states over a three-year period. There’s no way to tell at what point the fraud was committed – when it was sold, when it was distributed, or when it was caught. But the point is, while mislabeling is illegal, there’s very little oversight.

According to a USA Today report, only 2 percent of seafood is investigated for fraud. And aside from people overpaying for fake pricy fish, some substitutes could pose health risks. Escolar, often mislabeled as tuna, can cause digestive issues.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,071 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.