The report focused on fish that was purchased in the New York City area and subjected to DNA testing. That testing revealed, among other startling findings, that 79 percent of red snapper served in New York City restaurants and grocery stores was replaced with less expensive fish, like tilefish. The FDA warns pregnant women and young children to avoid tilefish altogether because of its high mercury content.
Similarly 94% of white tuna served at sushi restaurants was in fact escolar, a fish whose high levels of wax esthers can potentially cause diarrhea in diners.
Meanwhile the New York Times detailed Oceana’s report in its Tuesday Science section, in the article “Tests Say Mislabeled Fish is a Widespread Problem“:
The findings are broadly similar to those of studies Oceana has conducted in Los Angeles, Boston and Miami, where 55, 48 and 31 percent of samples, respectively, were mislabeled.
One finding that surprised the research team was that national chain supermarkets offered less mislabeled seafood than regional chains or small specialty markets. High prices were no guarantee of accurate labeling: one restaurant in the highest price range offered red snapper on its menu but, according to Oceana, was serving up lowly tilapia.
Learn more about seafood fraud and what Oceana is doing to fight it.