You may not be getting what you think you are when you order sushi at a restaurant or buy red snapper at a grocery store, according to a study released Feb. 21 by Oceana. They used DNA testing to determine if the seafood you purchase is what it says it is, and they found that one-third of it is not. The study presents serious questions about seafood safety in the United States.
Oceana, an independent conservation group, analyzed 1,215 samples from across the nation over two years of time, and 33% of them were mislabeled, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines.
According to RawStory.com, 44 percent of all the retail outlets tested were discovered to have marketed mislabeled seafood. The grocery stores came in at 18 percent and restaurants at 38 percent. Shockingly, places that sold sushi were found to have misrepresented their seafood 74 percent of the time! Southern California was the worst offender.
Is the issue of seafood safety just a matter of getting what you paid for? RawStory.com explains that there are health concerns involved in this fish tale:
Fish labeled as “wild salmon”—usually sold at a premium—were more likely than not to actually be farmed salmon. And there are health concerns—tilefish, which can have a high mercury content that can be dangerous for pregnant women, was sold in New York as red snapper, which usually has lower mercury levels.
It appears we need to be even more careful with our seafood purchases in the future. The very real possibility of severe budget cuts in Washington due to sequestration could make FDA food inspectors extinct.