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Massive Fraud With White Tuna In New York Restaurants United States, December 12, 12

More often than not, sushi lovers are not getting the “real deal” when they order tuna sashimi at New York City eateries, according to a new study of fish fraud. The researchers, from the conservation group Oceana, used DNA testing to determine if fish obtained from local restaurants, grocery stores and fish markets were labeled correctly.
The alarming results, released yesterday, show that 94% of fish samples listed as “white tuna” were actually snake mackerel, or escolar, a white-fleshed fish that can cause severe diarrhea if more than a few ounces of meat are consumed.
Kimberly Warner, who led the study, told U.S. media that it was possible some Japanese-speaking sushi chefs believed the proper name for escolar, once translated, was “white tuna.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which advises on seafood labeling, does not include “white tuna” as an “acceptable market name” for any species of fresh fish, and says it should only ever be used for canned albacore tuna.
Oceana found mislabeled fish in all 16 sushi restaurants it gathered samples from, and this was largely due to the white tuna fish fraud.
Overall, 39% of the 142 samples tested in the study were not what they claimed to be. Major chain supermarkets performed the best, offering more accurately labeled seafood than restaurants, regional grocery stores and specialty markets.
The findings are similar to those of similar studies that Oceana conducted in Miami, Boston and Los Angeles, where 31%, 48% and 55% of samples, respectively, were mislabeled.
Consumer advocates argue that mislabeled fish products can cheat consumers who receive cheaper fish than what they pay for, pose a serious health risk to individuals who unknowingly eat seafood that they’re trying to avoid, and threaten the future of overfished species that are used as substitutes for more sustainable fish.
Already, U.S. government officials have introduced a bill to fight the mislabeling practice and one Senator has urged the FDA to take a more proactive stance on the issue. Public concern is also growing, as 500 prominent chefs and restaurant owners recently signed and sent a petition against the fraud to the federal government.