Fish Still Routinely Mislabeled in US

Seafood eaters often get cheap substitutes, but DNA tests may help
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2011 5:14 PM CDT
Fillets of tilapia. Or so we think.   (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
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(Newser) – The fish that shows up on American plates is often a different fish than advertised, and US seafood lovers are getting routinely ripped off as a result, the nonprofit Oceana group says in a new report. Yellowtail commonly subs for mahi-mahi, for instance, and tilapia for red snapper, notes Consumer Affairs. The New York Times goes further, calling tilapia the "Meryl Streep of seafood" because it so often plays the role of more expensive fish.

Such allegations have been around for a while, but Oceana says the problem isn't getting any better. It cites studies showing that fish is mislabeled 25% to 70% of the time, depending on the species. What's more, the FDA inspects only a tiny fraction of US seafood, of which 84% is imported. The Times has details on how a process called "DNA bar coding" could someday make the problem go away, assuming the FDA embraces it.

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