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Tuna One Of USA’s Most Mislabeled Seafood

Tuna is the second most mislabeled seafood in the US, according to a new report on seafood fraud from the environmental group Oceana. In the group’s study, tuna samples taken from restaurants and retail outlets nationwide were mislabeled 59% of the time.
The tuna was commonly swapped with escolar, a type of mackerel that contains a toxin that can cause severe diarrhea if more than a few ounces of meat are consumed. In a previous study, the group found New York sushi restaurants were big culprits of tuna fraud, but said it was possible some Japanese-speaking sushi chefs believed the proper name for escolar, once translated, was “white tuna.”

In their latest report, Oceana conducted a two-year study of more than 1,200 seafood samples from 674 outlets in 21 states, and found that one in three fish were mislabeled. Southern California had the highest mislabeling rate at 52%.
The group is calling on the federal government to require full traceability – from boat to plate – of all seafood sold in the US, it says in a statement.
The US National Fisheries Institute, the country’s largest seafood trade association, says Oceana is using its reports to support the organization’s lobbying efforts for new laws on seafood labeling.
“Calling for new laws to fight fish fraud suggests groups don’t fully understand the issue at hand. If drivers are accused of running a stop sign you don’t simply put up another stop sign, you station a cop on the corner and start cracking down,” says John Connelly, NFI president.
The NFI believes the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should take more steps to enforce seafood fraud laws, rather than create new ones. It also notes that the FDA maintains a “consistent and scientifically sound list of acceptable market names for seafood.”
“For retailers and restaurants there should be no question as to what you can legally call any one fish,” says NFI.