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Fish: You Don't Get What You Pay For

Will the Real Red Snapper Please Stand Up?

A recent study conducted by two New York City high-school students shows that fish is commonly misnamed. When 60 fish samples from four sushi restaurants and 10 supermarkets were inspected using a genetic fingerprinting technique, a quarter turned out to be mislabeled.

Some findings: "White tuna" was really Mozambique tilapia, a much cheaper, commercially farmed fish. "Flying fish roe" was actually smelt roe. And more than 75 percent of "red snapper" samples weren't the real McCoy: Instead, they turned out to be everything from Atlantic cod fish to endangered Acadian redfish.

This study was done on a small scale, but according to the New York Times, it's "unlikely to be a mere statistical fluke."

With the controversy around raw salmon, seafood is certainly getting a bad rap. This news has me worried. What if someone has a fish allergy? What do you think? Does this finding surprise you?

bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
Same problem with scallops. Sometimes they're scallops, sometimes they're cut out pieces of stingray fin.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
wow - it's not only interesting - but it's a bit unsettling if you think about it. for myself - luckily i don't eat fish/meat/chicken or anything, but if you're paying a premium for things and you're not getting it - then that's really not right. i feel like there needs to be something done to manage this a bit more - to make sure that if you're shelling out money for a certain product - that you're GETTING it
milosmommy milosmommy 9 years
Wow that's really interesting.
lawchick lawchick 9 years
I'm so impressed with these high-school girls! I heard one of them on NPR and thought it was interesting they haven't publicized where the mis-labelled fish came from. she said they might tell the purveyors privately, but it was not their intention to run anyone out of business --- just to expose the problem so people will be more aware. I had no idea and this totally grosses me out.
fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
They had this problem in Minnesota restaurants. Customers thought they were ordering and getting walleye, but it was actually zander. Zander is a European cousin of walleye, and is two dollars per pound cheaper. Sneaky bastards! ;)
jen1975 jen1975 9 years
Bleh. I hate fish!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I'm not terribly surprised, and now I'm wondering how many times I've eaten one thing and thought it was another. Didn't that study also say that in 100% of the cases, the cheaper fish were "mislabeled" as more expensive fish?
crystallyn crystallyn 9 years
I've read that red snapper in particular is often not sold correctly in most places and that you should always buy fish with their heads on to be sure. Or pick the fish at least, and have the fishmonger remove the head for you.
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