Widespread Fish Mislabeling: Oceana Investigation Points to Fraud

by Simons Chase in


Findings based on a vast number of sample collections highlight the risks consumers are taking when consuming seafood around the US.  Over a two year period, Oceana (the leading ocean preservation organization) conducted one of the largest seafood fraud investigations ever, collecting over 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states.  At sushi restaurants, 74% had at least one sample determined to be mislabeled. At restaurants, 38% had at least one problem sample; in grocery stores, 18% did.  87% of the snapper samples were not snapper.   It is no surprise to find the most prevalent fraud occurred with higher-price fish. A 2009 Government Accounting Office (GAO) report found that only about 2% of seafood is inspected by the US government specifically for species substitution or fraud - despite a $155 billion US Department of Agriculture annual budget.  

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