BEACON TRANSCRIPT – A four-year study recently found out quite a big number of fish restaurants in Los Angeles served mislabeled sushi. Be careful what you order, since you might not actually get what you wanted.
The study, published by Loyola Marymount University and UCLA, discovered that 26 Los Angeles restaurant have an astounding 47 percent of the sushi they served mislabeled. They study was performed from 2012 to 2015.
After performing regular visits for the study, the researchers discovered that tuna sushi was nearly always tuna. However, other types of sushi were labeled as made of different kinds of fish, not the ones they were actually made of. For example, halibut and red snapper orders were actually served other kinds of fish (90 percent of the halibut orders were actually flounder). Salmon is also a common mislabel.
The researchers think that some of the mislabeling cases are accidental, but a majority of them might actually be intentional, since it is widespread among certain species and the coincidence would be too big.
They also found the breaking of environmental regulations was involved in the mislabeling. Many tuna orders were discovered to contain endangered varieties of tuna and others, vulnerable and overfished varieties. Such is the case with 40 percent of the halibut orders.
Mislabeling is also a potential threat to the customers. Some of the mislabeled species may contain mercury or other substances that are dangerous for small children and pregnant women. Mislabeling may also cause big problems for customers with allergies or people simply trying to avoid consuming endangered species.
A program against illegal actions against threatened seafood species and fish fraud in general was launched last year by the Obama administration. The enforcement of the program started with the new year and those involved in fish fraud may respond legally for their actions.
The name of the restaurants where mislabeling occurred were not made public. The researchers are planning to collaborate with some of them in order to verify their fish supplies and find out where exactly in the chain the fraud took place. The mislabeling spread to such an extent that the researchers are suspicious even the restaurants are victims of fraud.
Moreover, mislabeling occurred even in several grocery stores, so the supply chains need to be analyzed and they might find out where exactly the fraud is starting.
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