Nationwide study casts a wide net over seafood fraud
February 21st, 2013
03:02 AM ET
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Mislabeled fish is flooding the marketplace and Americans may be swallowing it hook, line and sinker, according to a new study by an environmental activist group.

A look at seafood sales across the country by ocean conservation group Oceana found that roughly one third of the time, seafood sold at U.S. grocery stores, seafood markets, restaurants and sushi venues had been swapped for species that are cheaper, overfished, or risky to eat.

Beth Lowell, campaign director for Oceana, told CNN that the study was conducted over the course of two years and encompassed retail outlets in major metropolitan areas across 21 states. Staff and supporters of the organization purchased 1,247 pieces of fish and submitted samples to a lab for DNA testing to determine if the species matched the in-store menu or label in accordance with Food and Drug Administration naming guidelines.

Out of the 1,215 samples that were eventually tested, 401 were determined to be mislabeled.

The FDA, which holds the primary responsibility for the safety of seafood products in the United States, uses a Web-based resource known as the Regulatory Fish Encyclopedia to aid in the identification of commercially important species of fish. The agency worked with several organizations, including the University of Guelph's Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, where the Oceana study’s testing was conducted, to develop the Fish Barcode of Life Initiative (FISH-BOL) program, which introduced a definitive, universal system for identifying fish.

Seafood fraud is of particular interest to the FDA not only because the lack of a standard naming convention would prevent correct species identification and inhibit processors' and consumers' knowledge of the potential safety hazards and allergens, but also because it may enable economic fraud due to high value fish being swapped for lower value species. The FDA’s “Seafood List” identifies acceptable market, scientific, common and vernacular names and specifies which may be used interchangeably to avoid any ambiguity in the marketplace. The agency frowns upon the use of vernacular names, which are usually introduced at the regional level.

[soundcloud url="" params="liking=false&show_artwork=false&show_comments=false" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]
13:36 – Eatocracy speaks with CNN Radio's Edgar Treiguts about how to buy responsibly sourced and tracked fish

The two most mislabeled fish, according to Oceana, were snapper (for which 33 different species of fish including rockfish, perch, sea bream and tilapia were substituted) and tuna, which was mostly replaced with escolar - an often-banned snake mackerel that can cause mild to severe gastric distress to those who consume it. In many cases, Atlantic cod, which is often overfished, was mislabeled as the more sustainable Pacific cod (and vice-versa). Grouper was often replaced with at-risk species including Gulf grouper and speckled hind, or in one case, king-mackerel, a high-mercury fish that the federal government has advised sensitive groups, such as pregnant women, to avoid.

The most frequent outlet for mislabeling was sushi restaurants. Out of 118 sushi venues visited, 95% sold fish that varied from their menu identification, including the previously mentioned snapper and tuna, as well as yellowtail/hamachi, which was incorrectly labeled in every case.

Diners at non-sushi restaurants received considerably more honest ingredients,according to Oceana, with just more than half of the 148 visited locations selling incorrectly labeled fish (snapper and cod again were the most slippery catch). And grocery store shoppers fared best of all, with only 27% of the 408 stores selling seafood that didn’t live up to its label’s claims.

While this was one of the largest studies to date, the findings echoed those in previous studies by the Boston Globe (48% mislabeling in 183 local samples in 2011, with little improvement in a 2012 follow-up), Consumer Reports (20 to 25% mislabeled), and the United States Government Accountability Office, which used its 2009 findings to call on the federal government for additional inspection resources.

But who is responsible for reeling in this widespread fraud and why is it happening in the first place?

That’s where things get fishy, despite the efforts of the seafood industry. U.S. fishermen provide most of this information at the dock, but save for product from participants in voluntary programs like Trace Register or Trace and Trust, it is extremely difficult for vendors and consumers to track this information from boat to plate.

The matter is further muddied by the fact that 91% of seafood consumed in the United States is imported from other countries, 54% of which is processed at sea, and roughly 2% of which is governmentally inspected for fraud. The further a fish gets from its origins, sold in parts rather than whole, the more difficult it is to track to its eventual destination, leaving the supply chain wide open to human error and deliberate deception.

According to the GAO, three federal agencies play key roles in detecting and preventing seafood fraud: the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, which reviews import information to detect fraud schemes; the Department of Commerce’s National Marine Fisheries Service, which offers a voluntary, fee-based inspection program, and the FDA, which focuses its seafood-specific resources primarily on health issues by way of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points management program. The separation of responsibility and lack of collaboration, the GAO’s analysis found, left the system especially vulnerable to fraud.

While the agencies might not be aligned in their methodology, they - and organizations like Oceana, Food and Water Watch and the Blue Ocean Group - do all agree: every level of the seafood chain suffers as a result of fraud. From the economic impact on the fisheries that are undercut by sellers skirting the rules, fish species endangered by a muddied tally of their stocks, vendors and chefs whose reputations are at stake, and diners who risk ingesting allergens and toxins from mislabeled fish, there is a cost to misidentified seafood.

In 2009, the FDA sanctioned seafood seller Peter Xuong Lam, president of Virginia Star Seafood Corporation, after he was convicted of conspiracy to import catfish, falsely labeled as sole, grouper, flounder, snakehead, channa, and other species of fish, from Vietnam for fraudulent sale. He was sentenced to five years in prison and became the first food importer ever to be debarred (for a period of 20 years) by the agency. The agency continues to cite and seeks to prosecute offenders who attempt to undermine the system, but notes that the responsibility of regulating retail food stores and restaurants falls primarily to state and local agencies.

In 2012, U.S. Reps. Edward Markey and Barney Frank, both Massachusetts Democrats, introduced the Safety and Fraud Enforcement for Seafood Act which would require full traceability for all seafood sold in the United States. The bill died in Congress, but industry members and civilians are taking up the charge.

Members of the National Fisheries Institute can sign a pledge to stamp out economic fraud in the seafood industry, and its Better Seafood Board provides a mechanism for members of the seafood industry to report fraud where they see it occurring and provide documentation on issues that arise.

Closer to the plate, in October 2012, 500 chefs - including Mario Batali, Thomas Keller and Rick Bayless - signed a pledge calling on the U.S. government to require that seafood be traceable in order to prevent seafood fraud and keep illegal fish out of the U.S. market.

But diners need not be left dangling.

Lowell recommends that consumers empower themselves by purchasing whole fish, which are easier to identify, and not trusting prices that seem too good to be true. She also encourages asking questions of fish vendors, such as what kind of fish it is, whether it was wild-caught or farm-raised and where, when and how the fish was caught. Even raising the question will alert the sales staff that consumers are interested in where their food comes from - and that they won’t settle for anything fishy.

Consumer Resources:

NOAA - The public can send information on possible mislabeling violations to or NOAA’s hotline at 1-800-853-1964
Better Seafood Board
FDA Acceptable Market Names
Blue Ocean Group

Previously - Faux pas! Food fraud on the rise

soundoff (314 Responses)
  1. Johnnyboy

    Does that mean that Charlie is not really a Tuna?

    February 21, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Conrad Shull

      Their substituting good tasting tuna with "tuna" with good taste.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:23 pm |
  2. Jackson fraud

    In Chicago they served Jesse Jackson Jr as a fraud. Imagine that...a fraud from Chicago politics. Hmmmmmm sounds familiar.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Jon

      Not much seafood comes from Chicago so I don't get your point.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Knucklehead

      I know, right? Democrats do time, Republicans retire and write books.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
  3. terre08

    Why call it mislabeled and not fraud? Another thing I have noticed here in the PNW is that they sell some cheap flounder as Dover Sole, which is one of the most delicious and expensive fish species.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  4. soulcatcher

    mmmhh I'll think I'll go back to eating my pink slime ,
    or Solyent Green.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Natalie

      Wait until Frankenfish will be in the market!

      February 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
      • aubrie

        It already is.

        February 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • willImNot


      February 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
      • Gu3st

        So would you call that a.... Manwich??

        February 21, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • richellelj

      VENT: What is with the Soylent Green on CNN message boards? I don't understand why everybody thinks it will make them look cultured or knowledgeable by quoting that "Soylent Green is people" when they are only parroting what they saw other posters writing. It is driving me crazy. NONE OF YOU HAVE SEEN THE MOVIE! NONE OF YOU!!! /vent

      February 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
      • Go Ducks

        I've seen it a few times. His favorite color was orange.

        February 21, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
  5. thesameoldtune

    these are great results.
    cutting out government inspectors.
    letting industry "police itself"
    american system works well.
    let's cut more government

    February 21, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Sarah

      The GOP enjoys getting carp served to them when they pay $40/plate for red snapper.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  6. dc

    Folks, we have no idea what we're eating. We honestly don't. Whether it's fish, other meat, or even certain vegetables, herbs, etc. One could just as easily write an article about mis-labeled lettuce, which happens all the time as well. Having said that, I would encourage everyone to TRY to understand where your meat and fish come from. Much easier to do if you shop local markets and butcher shops, vs big-box grocery stores. I understand that not everyone can afford to do so, but if you can you'll typically get a higher quality product.

    As far as the moral imperative to be vegetarian- give us a break. These animals aren't self-aware, most aren't capable of living in the wild at this point, and if they were we'd be screaming about how they are overpopulated and grazing on all of our precious vegetables and how they need to be "controlled". Lions eat people, people eat cows. It's been that way for millennia.

    February 21, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • johnny

      Stick with lobster, shrimp, scollops, crab!! MMMMM. Shellfish cant be misconstrued. Or a LOT harder. who wants to eat shady fish anyway....good thing this just came out during lent...hahahaha everyones going to be paranoid now

      February 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
      • Knucklehead

        sure...stick with the bottom much healthier

        February 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
      • chowderhead

        if the shrimp is packaged read the backside you might just find that your frozen shrimp comes from thailand.

        February 21, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Silveo

      dc YOU are what I call a true idiot....and sadly most people are very close to your same intelect. People have been taking it up the ass for a milenia too. SO follow the leader.

      February 21, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
  7. Conrad Shull

    "In Boston", said Jane, "it makes sense"
    "to go for the specialty, hence,"
    "I've come to get scrod." And her friend said, "That's odd."
    "You've used the past pluperfect tense."

    February 21, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • mathguy

      Wouldn't the pluperfect be "I had come to get scrod" ?

      February 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
  8. gottabekidding

    Only in the liberal media is seafood fraud a top story and a poll worker voting for Obama 6 times, and 20 other known cases of voter fraud in that same county in a swing state not even remotely newsworthy.

    February 21, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Ryan

      A lot of people eat fish – liberals, conservatives, and others. Your reference to Obama makes no sense for this article; you are just using this forum to spout your opinions on a completely unrelated topic.

      PS: I voted for Romney and I am a conservative so don't even start with the, "Great, another liberal," stuff.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:45 am |
      • gottabekidding

        I made a simple observation. If you don't like it, don't read the comment. It's just very telling that CNN is more worried about a talapia being labeled a grouper and not an election official voting 6 times.

        February 21, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • pullyou'reheadout

          @Gotta–I know it's difficult to look to the left side of the page and read all of those big words, but you're requested story on the voter fraud in Cincy is on CNN's main page. Please pay attention or just comment to the rest of the voices in your head

          February 21, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
        • Chris R

          It's odd but I saw that story on the front page. Maybe your computer didn't want to show it to you?

          February 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
        • Dave

          You don't like it, don't read th article.

          February 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
        • banasy©

          You made a simple observation on the Eatocracy blog. I think this is where you erred in judgment.

          February 21, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Marcia

      It is newsworthy in that it it is a potential health hazard for some people. The economic fraud is also newsworthy. Maybe not "Breaking News" material but certainly worth reporting.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • terre08

      So why don't you go to FAUX, Newsmax or something more patable to your miniscule brain?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Curt29

      I found the story you were referring to on Fox News, but I had to search for voter fraud to find it. I also found the same story on CNN through a search for voter fraud. Considering that both sites have the story, but you have to find it through the same means I would say their coverage on it is about equal. With that being said, your liberal media comment is silly.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • wil7483

      Really? You decided to take a totally unrelated story just so you could spout your geo-political rhetoric? WOW! Get over it, Romney and Ryan lost. It's over. A done deal. Move on.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
    • Dave

      Haven't you heard? Your guy lost the election. Live with it.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Knucklehead

      Thanks for your input. You can go back to digging your bunker now...

      Look out behind you!! It's the ATF!! or is it the NSA??!!...just kidding

      February 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • Coflyboy`

      Please STFU, otherwise you will make people think all conservatives are illiterate idiots.

      February 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
    • LR

      Oh here we go again. Why does EVERY SINGLE article online end up becoming politicized? I once saw a comment under an article about a tornado, and now 'it's Obama's fault.' Is that all you people do....troll every article to throw in your political bias? What about staying on topic? How do you even get through a normal day?? How old are you??

      February 21, 2013 at 7:53 pm |
  9. Mike

    Horsemeat sushi !! Yum

    February 21, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  10. spynnal

    Sorry, but we'll be cutting these agencies back even further with our coming, non-targeted cuts. Just shut up and eat the gray mass they stick in front you.

    February 21, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  11. ConfucianScholar

    I thought my wife was a good catch but she was a tilapia trying to pass for a Chilean Sea Bass.

    February 21, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • stevenC

      at least she's still edible

      February 21, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • jj


      February 21, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Knucklehead

      throw her back?

      February 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • PatMoe

      Now all of my Co-workers think I am insane because of how loud I just started laughing at the throw back remark.

      February 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  12. quieteye

    Who needs government.

    We The People don't care to have oversight on the free market. We do not need someone that cost money to inspect food to tell us labels don't matter anymore.

    We need small, underfunded government agencies to not do the jobs they are tasked to do – just appear as if they do.

    Republican Manifesto #46

    February 21, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Shearra

      Please just speak for yourself. There is no WE the people that don't want oversight; I DO. I LIKE eating things that have been inspected, that are what they say they are, no super-high level of know, that kind of thing.
      However, just for yourself, feel free to check out Somalia. They have a VERY small government, and aren't bothered by things like poisoning due to no food standards or inspection.
      WE might get lucky, and YOU won't survive it.
      Tparty stinks.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • Andacar

        Uh, turn on your sarcasm sensor and your ironimeter.

        February 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
      • David Hoffman


        February 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  13. Lila

    Years ago before ahi tuna became so popular, I would order it and get a huge slice then over the years the portions got smaller and it's all fake and I stopped ordering it. I haven't had a real piece of ahi in a restaurant in years. I still dream about the large pieces they used to serve- oh well. I don't even like meat ahi was the only one I truly enjoyed. It's too bad so many others liked it too. Too many people, too much over fishing.

    February 21, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  14. us_1776

    You must gotta love CAPITALISM.

    Germinating more and more criminals by the day.


    February 21, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  15. Mike

    I didn't know ENRON was into seafood processing these days.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  16. WhoDat

    There are only two things that smell like fish . . . and one of them is fish.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      LOL and the other is tuna

      February 21, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Knucklehead

      don't forget Mrs. Pauls...

      February 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  17. dave

    There is a portion of society that either ends up in jail or the restaurant business. Didn't Anthony bourdain tell us something like this over 10 years ago. "The commercial kitchen is described as an intense, unpleasant and sometimes hazardous place of work staffed by what he describes as misfits. "

    Dear wait staff, if you think it is OK to spit in someone's food, then you are deeply disturbed. If waiting is making you feel "less than" get another job.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:52 am |
  18. Roberto San Miguel

    So: "Grouper was often replaced with at-risk species including Gulf grouper and speckled hind" Grouper is grouper – whether it's speckled hind, Warswa, black (7 species), scamp, kitty mitchell, snowy, red grouper....when I label my fish or tell my restaurant customers it's grouper – I tell them WHICH species it is. ALSO: red snapper NOT endangered. If it were, they wouldn't let the Texas fleets in Galveston, Freeport or Port Isabel (or rest of Gulf state fisherman) fish at all – we get 7.8 million lbs. quota right now and feds will probably raise it to 8.2 million next year. FInally- out of 12 months our guys are lucky to fish 7 months out of the year. Since January – we've only had 2 good weeks harvest because of rough weather. San Miguel Seafood, Austin, Tx.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:36 am |
    • Larry Mandrell

      Roberto, can't wait to get to the Coast again, all you guys work hard and provide good food for us.
      I think this report being by an environmental group is not trustworthy.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • Knucklehead

        Not again!! Those sneaky b@st@rds...

        February 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
      • Roberto San Miguel

        Hey Larry!! Wondered where you when you get back!!

        February 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm |

    Ever seen yellow haddock ? Me neither. I often see fish that looks wrongly labelled. Also did you know that a spray has been developed which takes away the smell that fish gives off when it is getting past it's sale by date.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:35 am |
  20. AJ

    Something very fishy up in here!

    February 21, 2013 at 10:27 am |
  21. seaann

    God's Kingdom the only HOPE for mankind.

    Every facet of this system is corrupt. Greed is KING, the attitude is the bottom line.

    These people don't care about mankind.

    Why do you think we have so many sickness, all types of diseases?.

    The system is saturated with wicked people. There is not a part of this entire world that is not corrupt. That is another reason people want guns, FEAR, Lack of TRUST.

    The old adage of "One bad apple spoils the whole bunch is no longer true, all of the apples are bad,(even if their first intentions were to do good) you cannot walk through mud in a white suit and not get dirty. " all need to go.

    Matthew 6:9,10 God's Kingdom the only Hope for mankind. Period Over and OUT!

    February 21, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  22. Fish Monger

    This is really a symptom of an uninformed consumer. I ran a Seafood restaurant for 10 years, we labeled everything on our daily fish menu with country of origin, and indicated truthfully whether the the item had been frozen or was in fact "fresh". It always stung a little when a new place would open and be selling frozen Malaysian swai as Fresh Florida Grouper. People just don't know and in any cases, and if the price is right they often don't care.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • David Hoffman

      If the price seems to be to good to be true, it probably is adulterated.

      February 21, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
  23. guesswho22

    So, which restaraunts, fish markets, and suppliers are guilty? Would like to know so I can avoid

    February 21, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Good To Know

      You will never know. Some 40% of seafood from China is incorrectly labled. Also, don't eat Tilapia if you don't know it's origin. In Chinese fish farms, the fish are fed human feces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      February 21, 2013 at 10:49 am |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

        I do not buy seafood from China. I always make sure where it's from.

        February 21, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • Brian

        As I noted previously, on American catfish farms the fish are fed pig feces. So what?

        February 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Larry Mandrell

      I would avoid the group that made the report hidden agenda.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • David Hoffman

        There is no hidden agenda. Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Julia Carolyn Child both warned of the problems of willfull mislabeling of seafood. Both were concerned with the effect on marine ecology of overfishing and how misled consumers could not make informed choices about purchasing sustainable seafood. If ALL people involved with the seafood busines do not commit to scientifically accurate lableing the catch ALL the time, then the rest of the market system does not get acurate information on which to make purchasing decisions.

        February 21, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • mklsgl

      All of them. Runaway-train wreck Capitalism is the root cause. I stopped eating seafood 30 years ago after witnessing what actually goes on in that industry.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  24. JJ

    Guess it doesn't hurt to keep this story in the news, hoping someone will take action... The importers that profit from mislabeling will keep any real legislation from denying them their right to defraud the consumer.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:07 am |
  25. ToldUSo

    Whew! I thought they were going to tell me my Icelandic cod was actually horse.

    February 21, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • bill.x

      neigh! neigh! neigh!

      February 21, 2013 at 10:29 am |
  26. Freelancer

    Mislabeled fish is probably due more to ignorance than fraud.

    February 21, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  27. Beer Immediately

    Damn people and their false fish

    February 21, 2013 at 9:35 am |
  28. rad666

    Ag-gag laws that are being passed by states in America will make it a crime to report food related issues.

    February 21, 2013 at 9:25 am |
  29. Bobby Bankston

    Dang it, I knew that king crab meat at 99 cents a pound was too good to be true!

    February 21, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  30. Freddy F

    Only two things smell like fish. One of them is fish.

    February 21, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  31. The enlightened restauranteer

    su·shi (ssh)
    Cold cooked rice dressed with vinegar that is shaped into bite-sized pieces and topped with raw or cooked fish, or formed into a roll with fish, egg, or vegetables and wrapped in seaweed.

    sa·shi·mi (sä-shm)
    A Japanese dish consisting of very thin bite-size slices of fresh raw fish, traditionally served with soy sauce and wasabi.

    February 21, 2013 at 9:05 am |
  32. Andrew

    Dept. of Ag needs to help 'merkuns farm fish. We import billions of toxic, poorly kept seafood from around the globe. Oh, and we all need our industrial jobs back, corporate monarchists.

    February 21, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • gager

      Dept of Ag needs to stay out of it altogether. It makes dummies of consumers and does nothing. It always amazes me when some government department is a fail yet people call for more of the same.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:18 am |
      • El Flaco

        It is not the government that is defrauding us. It is the private sector: supermarkets, restaurants, canneries, etc.

        This ridiculous belief that government can never do anything right is merely proof that Conservative brainwashing is very effective.

        February 21, 2013 at 9:25 am |
        • Good To Know

          No, it's not the Govt that is defrauding us. That's because they only inspect about 2% of all food imports. Mfgs in places like China or India will replace expensive ingredients with cheap additives or won't add them at all. Most of the times the additives are toxic or carcinogenic. They do this only to increase their profits, because they know American Consumers can't come back at them to recouperate for a loss.

          February 21, 2013 at 10:56 am |
      • Bill

        If the government weren't checking up on this the fraud wouldn't exist, eh? You believe in fairies and unicorns too, right?

        February 21, 2013 at 9:52 am |
      • Nikki

        The government does it's fair share of fraud and acts that remind me of something the mafia would conduct. They are not saints! They are money grubbers and they get some of the money that comes from fraudulant fish. What makes you think they care about you as a consumer?! The FDA probably strong armed the people conducting this study to include the FDA's name in this article so that us sheep can continue to think they are saints only looking out for our best intrest. Yeah right!!! Total BS! And no, I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am just interested in the truth and the truth isn't as hard to find as Mulder made it seem.

        February 21, 2013 at 10:27 am |
      • sameeker

        I suppose that you think that every consumer should have to do an hours worth of research before buying every single product? Caveat Emptor has no place in modern society.

        February 21, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  33. crabman

    catch it clean it eat it --– only way to be sure it's fresh and where it came from

    February 21, 2013 at 8:43 am |
  34. Cut Govt Funding

    I hope you know I was only relating this story to the current budget crisis and that I am sure the Tea Party only wants to make everyone equally poor. I also am trying to share that the " Do nothing Conress" last term is being overcome by the one we have today that wants to be worse than them by creating this crisis and breaking Govt worse. I feel I need to also state, shame on them for putting the public at risk by laying off Federal Employees if they refuse to solve this budget problem soon. I feel some folks saw my first input as what I want to see happen in Congress. Also, my "Go Tea Party" comment should have been followed with the "not joke" punch line .... "NOT". hope this helps.

    February 21, 2013 at 8:40 am |
    • Getridof McConnel

      Do you think that the House majority leader stating that the "TOP Priority is making Obama a one-term president" had Anything to do w/ the "Do Nothing Congress" of last term? How on Earth could you expect ANYone to get anything done when powerful, cynical, racist leaders act like children and juggle with the livelihoods of Americans to play bully in their foolish political games.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:19 am |
    • lucianne

      Tea parties are for little girls with imaginary friends. Which are all the friends left to th GOP congress. If they didn't like sequester, why did they vote for it? And brag about it, including Boner and Paul? Of course various underfunded departments don't function. We need to revamp and stop subsidizing ADM and Monsanto and various oil companies and banks, and start spending money in ways tha actuallyl benefit us. Without regard to congressmen owned by various industries.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:38 am |
  35. CanisPitbullis

    not to mention the horsemeat mislabeled as fish

    February 21, 2013 at 8:38 am |
  36. Old Enough

    Buying whole fish is the way to go. I always kow what the species is. Whether it is farmed or not can also be determined by what the fish looks like, (Salmon especially) but not always. Sadly, there are a lot of people out there that could not tell ther difference between a Tilapia and a Trout. Stop staring at your cell phones and learn something about the world you live in!!

    February 21, 2013 at 8:24 am |
    • mandarus

      Wait a minute, can't I use my smartphone to identify the fish?

      February 21, 2013 at 8:50 am |
      • kake79


        February 21, 2013 at 10:12 am |
        • mab

          Just "bump" your Samsung on any fish and it will ID it for you.

          February 21, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • Lou

      last time I bought a whole tuna, I had enough tuna fish for 36,000 sandwiches. I don't know enough people to eat all that.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • VR13

      The thing is that not every consumer is able to identify the fish themselves, simply by looking at it. In fact, most are not. We don't have a choice but to rely on whoever sells it to us.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  37. Raghib

    Good. At least someone is going after the consumer fraud in the food industry. Consumers get sick, ripped off and no reparations. False labeling is false advertising.

    February 21, 2013 at 8:13 am |
  38. pachy

    Sushi is cooked vinegared rice, not fish.

    Reasons I am a vegetarian:

    1. There is no proven medical, scientific or biological reason that humans have to eat non-humans.
    2. There are lots of proven medical, scientific or biological reasons that eating non-humans is harmful to humans.
    3. There is no "nice" or "humane" way to slaughter and kill a non-human.
    4. The methods today of producing non-human food for consumption are the most economically inefficient, environmentally destructive processes in history.
    5. The drugs and hormones force fed to non-humans in order to keep them alive in squalor and to increase "production" are having a deleterious effect on human health.

    February 21, 2013 at 8:12 am |
    • BeerBrewerDan

      1. Tens of thousands of years of humans/humanoids being omnivorous would disagree.

      February 21, 2013 at 8:17 am |
    • jer

      blah blah blah blah, shut up vegan

      February 21, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • Old Enough

      And what supplements to you take to compensate for the lack of meat in your diet? If you don't will.

      February 21, 2013 at 8:26 am |
      • dj

        Wrong. Read a book, will you?

        February 21, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • justageek

      Yet you'll eat a non-human piece of rice? Why? Because if it doesn't scream when you rip it from the ground it has been slaughtered humanely? Eat what you eat because you want to but don't try to hide behind some do gooder morals that are simply made up.

      February 21, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • The Brown Note

      Pachy is obviously not aware of what allowed humans to evolve mentally. This explains why vegetarians tend to be incredibly obtuse.

      February 21, 2013 at 8:45 am |
      • Watnen

        That's what I was

        February 21, 2013 at 9:45 am |
      • Bill M

        Ah, it all makes sense why vegitarians are obtuse. Look at Congress, they are obtuse, so, we can assume they are vegis. Potatoe heads, thats what they are.

        February 21, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • mandarus

      To me it sounds like pachy is trying to make a case to eat humans. Is that sick or what?

      February 21, 2013 at 8:53 am |
      • lol

        In LA they drink them.

        February 21, 2013 at 10:18 am |
    • gager

      There are no old vegans.

      February 21, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • lexie1961

      do you eat jello?

      February 21, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • VR13

      If you have so many issues of eating "non-human" that you should just other humans instead.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
      • VR13

        Bunch of typos, sorry. Should have been, "You have so many issues with eating "non-human" that you should instead switch to eating humans.

        February 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • PatMoe

      I love vegetarians.

      They are awesome if slow cooked with the right spices.

      February 21, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  39. Greenspam

    Thanks for all the fish. Good bye sushi.

    February 21, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • ronin001

      there's an article from the journal "Lucky Peach" some months ago that showed the effects of the immense demands of the Sushi industry on fish populations and production. It was pretty gross seeing how farmed salmon is pretty much not the healthiest stuff out there, how eel farming is both gross and also is depleting populations...and did you know that quite a bit of sushi fish distribution is controlled by an organization owned by the late Sun Myung Moon?!?

      February 21, 2013 at 8:48 am |
  40. browns-trout

    I've had numerous occasions where restaurants have tried to serve me tilapia as grouper, or halibut. It's a joke. Unfortunately, it's a joke that most people fall for. I'm at the point where I only eat fish at home, or in restaurants that I know well. Fortunately, my local market has their act together on fish and I have never found anything mislabeled.

    February 21, 2013 at 7:54 am |
    • majical

      I live in Florida and admittedly do not know my fish very well at all. I do know that when I order fried grouper sandwiches, I can tell a difference in the fish based on whether the cost of the sandwich is over or under 10 bucks. You can tell the texture/chunkiness is off on the cheaper sandwiches. Why don't they just call it a "fish" sandwich and stop lying!?! We've had big issues with this in florida in the past and obviously, they still haven't figured out how to make the suppliers and servers be honest about it!

      February 21, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  41. danita

    I guess people don't know their fish...

    February 21, 2013 at 7:47 am |
    • jer

      some people live in land loked areas where fish isnt the norm on the dinner plate. WEIRD

      February 21, 2013 at 8:19 am |
      • FishHead

        Many people live on the coast where Cattle are not typically raised yet somehow manage to understand the difference between a NY Strip and a Center Cut Filet. WEIRD.

        February 21, 2013 at 10:56 am |
        • MikeH

          Only by shape. If you cut a piece of chuck round and thick, many people would believe it is filet mignon. Most people know beef based on shape and bone, not texture or taste. Furthermore, what we are talking about here is not a particular cut of fish but type of fish. Do people really know the difference in the types of cows? Could they identify if the meat was horse or cattle? The question is not the part of the fish, as it is with beef, but what particular fish.

          February 21, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  42. gorttt

    Try the Sea Bass at Frank and Alberts located at the Arizona Biltmore, its not Sea Bass.

    February 21, 2013 at 7:45 am |
    • pitavern

      Real sea bass is rarely served in restaurants. Though tasty, it is on the small end of the Grouper/Snapper complex and just doesn't make visual plate impact. Chilean Sea Bass is in reality a Patagonian Toothfish, and is being dangerously overfished. What most people get on their plate when they order "Sea Bass" is one of a number of fishes called Corvina, which is in the Croaker/Drum group, and are quite sustainable (and delicious).

      The trick isn't to prevent people from serving fraudulent fish, but to educate both vendors and servers how good fish with less popular names can be, and just label accordingly.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:20 am |
  43. AtheistHuman

    WHAT? Asians cheating? No... not possible.

    February 21, 2013 at 7:29 am |
    • lol

      Yeah. What happened to good ole days when they were just selling us dog, cat and rats?

      February 21, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  44. US Fisherman

    Stick with wild caught fish. Fish farmers do not care to know their impact on the world's human or fish populations.

    February 21, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • Joe

      That doesn't make sense!

      February 21, 2013 at 7:47 am |
      • lol

        What he meant was they won't purposely mislabel something just because it's not a fish that should be caught

        February 21, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • julian

      business is business ! people will do anything for that extra buck! and for all of you here talking about fish farming,please do your home work,fish farming still way better then any cow farm!! and no gmo

      February 21, 2013 at 7:57 am |
      • US Fisherman

        My concern with fish farming lies within the PCB contamination of the feed given to the fish and the farm fish genome escaping into the wild population.

        February 21, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • jer

      dude, when you farm fish they are in special tanks away from the rest of the wild population thus not affecting population one way or the other. christ get a brain

      February 21, 2013 at 8:21 am |
      • US Fisherman

        Depends on the type of fish your'e farming asshole. The majority of farmed fish consumed in the world include salmon and sea bass, which are farmed primarily in open systems. Sure any dumbass can farm tilapia or catfish in their back yard.

        February 21, 2013 at 8:25 am |
        • lol

          He must think fish farms are only somewhere in Iowa and won't effect or accidentally be put into the open ocean system. That's right Jer, they grow the fish right next to your corn. Time to smoke another bowl buddy.

          February 21, 2013 at 10:32 am |
      • US Fisherman

        Jer, Depends on the type of fish your'e farming. The majority of farmed fish consumed in the world include salmon and sea bass, which are farmed primarily in open systems.

        February 21, 2013 at 8:29 am |
      • SS

        Jer – fish are not always farmed in enclosed tanks in buildings. Shrimp are also not farmed this way – they are actually farmed in mangrove areas that are destroyed in the process. In addition to PCB levels in farmed fish, it takes huge amounts of fishmeal and oil to raise salmon in farms. Tuna raised in "ranches" are taken from the sea, irrespective of their age, size or breeding status, depleting wild populations.
        Rather than insulting people by telling them to get a brain, perhaps you should spend some time educating yourself.

        February 21, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • Traylor

      There are not enough wild fish. Eventually, all fish consumed as food will need to be farmed like any other livestock. We are killing the oceans with overfishing. There needs to be an enforceable worldwide ban on bottom trawling. Farmed fish can be as safe as cattle and pork raised on farms.

      February 21, 2013 at 8:33 am |
      • US Fisherman

        It is true there are not enough wild fish. Especially when the world focuses on eating primarily four types (salmon, sea bass, tuna, and cod). During the World Wars when fishing was the least of concerns for Europe, the fish stocks in their north Atlantic fishing grounds nearly completely recovered from almost total depletion. What we need are more strict fishing quotas, and bans on fishing during species' spawning periods, giving the fish more time and freedom to reproduce and recover their stocks. The Hawaiians knew this and enforced their laws with the highest priority. They were the smartest of all fishing cultures.

        February 21, 2013 at 8:48 am |
        • The Brown Note

          Or another world war.

          February 21, 2013 at 9:13 am |
        • soulcatcher

          ...From the Pentagon: One thing at a time please.

          February 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  45. Cut Govt Funding

    Eliminate the Federal regulation, trust the companies and make Federal employees take one day off a week at no pay. The industry leaders will control and police things like this in the open market, why is the Federal Govt waisting money on this ... let people solve their own issues. This is what Congress says, this is what is happening in Washington now by not passing a budget or solving budget issues, so it must be the right way to go ... and oh by the way, When the Federal employees have to take time off without pay ... don't lay them off to take those days off at one time so they can recieve unemployement like private industry does to help their employees. Make sure it is one day off, two days a payperiod so they can't recieve unemployement and provide for their families, that way they know they are being punished for finding fault with things like this story. We want them to feel punished because they are not valued or important to keeping us safe or operating as a country. You go Tea Party.

    February 21, 2013 at 7:12 am |
    • Jeff S

      As long as you are ok with your company doing the same thing to you.

      February 21, 2013 at 7:21 am |
      • mememememememe

        uh, that was tongue-in-cheek...

        February 21, 2013 at 7:51 am |
    • Vinson Massiv

      Cut government regulation at what level? Can you honestly trust the companies to regulate the correct labeling of their fish when without regulation of some sort they are the ones that would benefit most from not doing so?

      February 21, 2013 at 7:38 am |

      That's right leave it to industry to do the right thing. You are an Imbecile industry is amoral it has one reason to exist and that is to make a profit.That is all go back a hundred years ago and look at the conditions of the meat packing houses in Chicago. It took muckrakers like Upton Sinclair to expose the horrors of that time. Perhaps you would like some fresh fish caught in Connecticut all of which are Mercury laden from the exhaust of massive coal fired generating plants in the midwest with their 400 foot tall smoke stacks which send the Mercury laden plumes East with the prevailing winds. You and your Tea party morons and Ron and Rand Paul worshipers should live in a backwards bizzarro world that would bwe the result of any of you repulsive idiots actually gaining power the power to destroy our society.

      February 21, 2013 at 7:46 am |
      • ealgumby

        It's called satire, you may have heard of it? Not helping the cause. :( Reread, then apologize.

        February 21, 2013 at 8:41 am |
      • Tards

        Yeah That's right, comment on a post after not reading it. it Makes you people look like imbeciles. Clearly his post was satire.

        February 21, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • Traylor

      Why should we punish government employees? Would you work for nothing? Government workers work just as hard as private employees. They deserve to be paid. Only 3% of the federal budget goes to administration. Savaging the public workforce is not going to do anything about the budget deficit. Having said that, this has nothing to do with the fish story.

      February 21, 2013 at 8:37 am |
  46. gorttt

    For two years Frank and Alberts restaurant at the Arizona Biltmore lied about the Sea Bass on their menu, it was just a cheap substitute. It was finally changed to the real thing after non-stop compaints from the wait staff.

    February 21, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • Daren

      Eat at Ruth Chris' across the street, who eats at Frank and ALberts anyway?

      February 21, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
  47. Gad Zook

    Its time people stopped eating fish, and meat for that matter. Go vegeterian!

    February 21, 2013 at 6:30 am |
    • mark

      Ya lets some e coli from the people crapping in the fields . I can hear the heads of lettuce now

      February 21, 2013 at 7:08 am |
    • The Brown Note

      No thanks. I'm not a hipster.

      February 21, 2013 at 7:26 am |
      • lol

        That's the Hipster thing to say.

        February 21, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • AtheistHuman

      Veggies are nastier than fish.

      February 21, 2013 at 7:30 am |
    • jackson

      mmmmmmm, yeah, pesticides for everyone! yum yum!

      Not only do I personally know the owner of the sushi place I frequent, but I also know the exact place he gets all of his seafood from, and I know he buys fresh every single day. Both have impeccable reputations. I trust both. I've been frequenting that place for almost 15 years, and zero health issues.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  48. Gad Zooks

    Just be a vegeterian and save all the fish

    February 21, 2013 at 6:29 am |
    • AtheistHuman

      Save them for what?

      February 21, 2013 at 7:31 am |
      • The Brown Note

        For eating them later.

        February 21, 2013 at 8:08 am |
      • Vinson Massiv

        A functioning ecosystem.

        February 21, 2013 at 8:35 am |
        • lol

          People eating meat IS part of a functioning ecosystem. Except for those who think they can undo centuries of base human habits, programming and predator instinct just to be PC. I'll stop eating meat when people start being born without front incisor teeth.

          February 21, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • The End of Idiocy

      You know, if everyone became a vegetarian tomorrow, the first thing we would have to do is kill all the useless animals we grew to eat. And if we stopped growing animals tomorrow, we would have to find jobs for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Or we could just wait for them to die of malnutrition, since there aren't enough of the right vegetables to feed the human race. OR we could just ignore you.

      February 21, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • Zippy the Pinhead

      Only the misinformed are vegetarians. You were designed to eat meat, just look at your teeth (incisors) and the enzymes the human body produces (pepsin, trypsin, chymotrypsin) . All for meat, hence protein, consumption. Stop fighting mother nature.

      February 21, 2013 at 8:23 am |
      • El Flaco

        You are correct that humans are omnivores. As a species, we pretty much ate anything we could find: animal, insect, leaf, stem, root, fungus, mold, etc.

        But the food industry is putting a lot of crap into our food that is not good for us. While eating meat can be part of a healthy diet, what we get from grocery stores and restaurants is not good for us.

        And, to those with a conscience, what the food industry does to animals is truly horrible to behold. You have seen movies about concentration camps, but you have never seen a movie about feed lots and packing plants.

        February 21, 2013 at 9:32 am |
  49. Azhar

    It smells a little to fishy to me.

    February 21, 2013 at 4:16 am |
    • Old Enough

      If it smells fishy, it's probebly not fresh.

      February 21, 2013 at 8:31 am |

      Did you know that a spray has been developed which takes away the smell that fish gives off when it is getting past it's sale by date.

      February 21, 2013 at 10:36 am |
      • Chris R

        They also use carbon monoxide to keep the flesh from turning grey. They use it in meat as well.

        February 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
        • Josh

          No, I hadn't heard of that? Is there any more information on this matter?

          February 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
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