Something fishy about seafood labels – 05/27/2011

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

For Your Entertainment (FYE) and maybe your awareness…..;+)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43189771/ns/technology_and_science-the_new_york_times/

“For consumers, the issue is about dollars and cents — wanting to get the quality and type of fish they paid for. “If you’re ordering steak, you would never be served horse meat,” said Dr. Hirshfield of Oceana. “But you can easily be ordering snapper and get tilapia or Vietnamese catfish.” ”

“Dana Miller, a doctoral student who worked with Dr. Mariani in Dublin studying the mislabeling of cod, the most popular fish in Ireland, said, “we expected with all the policies and legislation and inspections, the numbers would be pretty low.” But 25 percent of samples of fresh cod and haddock and over 80 percent of the smoked products, were in fact something else. Irish cod stocks are overfished. ”

““If you can’t even trust that the name is right, then how can you trust anything else on the package, including the date?” she said. In Europe, seafood labels include the fishery where it was caught. In the United States, it must list only a “country of origin” although that is often the processing country rather than where it is caught. ”

The group Cleanfish is experimenting with an electronic tagging system through which each fisherman or processor would enter his code onto a tag on each fish, making its journey from the sea to the plate fully transparent. Cleanfish buys only whole fish since its outward appearance helps to verify its identity.

And bar coding is becoming more accessible every year. Today, fish samples are sent to labs for testing, but scientists predict that there will be desktop DNA bar coding systems within five years and, in 10, inspectors will carry hand-held detectors.

“Everyone should be using this technique — there should be spot checks and fines,” said Dr. Hebert of the DNA bar coding project.”

 

Labeling regulation means little if the “grouper” is really catfish or if gulf shrimp were spawned on a farm in Thailand.

Image: A mako shark fillet, above, is often passed off as swordfish, top.

NOAA

A mako shark fillet, above, is often passed off as swordfish, top.

“Environmentalists, scientists and foodies are complaining that regulators are lax in policing seafood, and have been slow to adopt the latest scientific tools even though they are now readily available and easy to use. “
Big Hugs and Kisses to All!;+)

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