Selected tags: Food Safety

Seafood Fraud: What You Order Isn't Always What You Get

Plated seafood. Image by Eliza Adam (Creative Commons License)Mislabeled seafood, or seafood fraud, is a hot topic in the fish world these days. Recent exposés by the Boston Globe and Consumer Reports have revealed an alarmingly high rate of seafood  deception in restaurants and markets. Conducting DNA testing on fish from local restaurants, the Globe found that about 50% of tested fish were mislabeled. What does this mean? Well, for the average seafood consumer, it means that the fish you pay for is often not the one you actually get.

Seafood fraud can result in adverse health effects, reinforce the market for illegal fishing, and perpetuate false information about the true state of the marine environment.

But unless you’re a marine biologist, fisherman or seafood purveyor, it can be hard to tell the difference between wild and farmed salmon, red snapper and tilapia, or grouper and Vietnamese catfish (aka basa). The FDA has a list of the most commonly substituted seafood items, but good luck finding this posted anywhere that you buy fish. Read More »

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Tim Fitzgerald, EDF Oceans' Senior Policy Specialist Testifies at Today's Oil Spill Commission Hearing

Tim Fitzgerald, EDF Senior Oceans Policy Specialist

Tim Fitzgerald, EDF Senior Oceans Policy Specialist

Today, Tim Fitzgerald, EDF's Senior Policy Specialist for Oceans, testified at the third meeting of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. Speaking particularly on concerns of seafood safety, Tim mentioned EDF's work with the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance to help them preserve their markets in the face of this disaster. Read Tim's full remarks:

September 28, 2010
National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, 3rd Meeting – Testimony of Tim Fitzgerald, Senior Policy Specialist, Oceans Program, Environmental Defense Fund

Good afternoon. First, I’d like to thank the Commission for the opportunity to testify today on this critically important topic. I’m a Senior Policy Specialist in the Oceans Program of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), with a scientific background in marine ecology and physiology. For the last seven years I’ve worked specifically on issues of seafood sustainability and health for EDF, and I was asked to testify today about the public perception of Gulf seafood safety and the work that we’ve begun with fishermen to address ongoing consumer concerns. For background, EDF is a leading national nonprofit organization representing more than 700,000 members that links science, economics and law to create innovative, equitable and cost-effective solutions to society's most urgent environmental problems.

As you may already know, the seafood market is inherently confusing for consumers. Most people have very little connection to, or understanding of, the fish they buy. More than 80% of fish that Americans eat is imported, coming from nearly every country on Earth and caught or farmed under dozens of different regulatory schemes and environmental conditions. Given this complexity, there are numerous opinions – often conflicting – over what seafood is “good” or “bad”. Regardless, opinion polls, focus groups, and other studies have consistently shown that quality and safety are two top concerns for consumers. Read More »

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