Why it’s fish fraud, of course!
Ethics Alarms covered the problem way back in 2011, in a post called “Getting Scrod in Boston: The Ravages of Seafood Fraud. I just checked: almost nobody has read it, and those who have almost certainly have 1) forgotten about it and 2) been ripped off buying seafood since.
Now the guys at “Stuff You Should Know” have done an excellent podcast about the issue. It really is infuriating that with all the regulations we pay for, and all the attention the government focuses on fads, politically correct crusades (how many Americans are affected by limitations on which public rest rooms can be openly used by transgender citizens?) , and out-and-out trivia, something like this goes not only unaddressed by officials, but ignored as well. The news media, meanwhile, would rather use its limited daily space to tell us how Stephen Colbert just skewered Donald Trump last night than to warn us about our pockets being picked.
Well, not me: I almost never buy seafood unless it’s raw oysters, whole shrimp or crab, and if I’m in New England, Ipswich clams and lobster, all hard to fake. Continue reading
“Why, certainly that’s a red snapper, sir! Just came off the boat today!!”
If there is an opportunity for profitable dishonesty that nobody is paying attention to, the overwhelming likelihood is that it will flourish to the point of becoming standard practice.
Isn’t that discouraging? I hate to write that sentence, as I hate to think or accept the conclusion behind it. Yet when I come upon a topic like seafood fraud (or fish fraud), it is hard to deny.
The Boston Globe just published the results of a wide-ranging, five-month investigation into the mislabeling of fish in the Greater Boston area and other parts of Massachusetts. The shocking results showed that Bay State consumers:
“…routinely and unwittingly overpay for less desirable, sometimes undesirable, species – or buy seafood that is simply not what it is advertised to be. In many cases, the fish was caught thousands of miles away and frozen, not hauled in by local fishermen, as the menu claimed. It may be perfectly palatable – just not what the customer ordered. But sometimes mislabeled seafood can cause allergic reactions, violate dietary restrictions, or contain chemicals banned in the United States.
“The Globe collected fish from 134 restaurants, grocery stores, and seafood markets from Leominster to Provincetown, and hired a laboratory in Canada to conduct DNA testing on the samples. Analyses by the DNA lab and other scientists showed that 87 of 183 were sold with the wrong species name – 48 percent.” Continue reading