Do you know when you’re cooking that tilapia or fresh salmon from the grocery store if it’s really “wild arctic salmon” or “the Mercedes of tilapia” that you requested? Sure you went to the fish counter, told them what you wanted, and they in turn handed you a nicely folded and labeled package. Done deal, right? Yes you’re saying and so was I until I came across an article in Shape magazine that was really quite daunting to tell you the truth, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
It “appears” that a decent percent of fish being sold often times get mislabeled and not in the store itself necessarily but from the manufacturers. In fact, Shape Magazine shares the details on the group Oceana that put this statement to the test. They tested 150 different samples of fish to which they discovered 39 of the samples were mislabeled! What does that mean? Well, according to the Oceana case most of the time the mislabeled kinds were cheaper fish being substituted for the more expensive kinds…. what a jip! Moreover in many of the white types of fish cod, tilapia. etc they found it wasn’t even fish…get ready… it was Escolar are a type of snake mackerel! YUCK!
This finding isn’t even so much based off consumers getting jipped from hard-earned money, it’s for sanitary reasons too. Every type of fish has a certain length it stays fresh for. Not all brands are the same. So if you have Grouper mislabeled as Trout or Tilapia you could be buying old fish! Or what if you’re pregnant and can’t consume high levels of mercury? You go into the store to buy an innocent low mercury fish and end up with a mislabeled high mercury version. Yes, exactly what you’re thinking…NOT GOOD.
So what can we do? Obviously a healthy answer would not be boycotting fish… The best solution to being certain you are getting what you ordered would be to find a handler you know and trust with your fish. Whether that means buying locally or just developing a close relationship with the man or woman behind the counter to get the inside scoop. It’s not 100% of a solution but at least now you know and can consider your option before purchasing the “gold” selection of fish and getting eel instead.
So now how do you feel? Do you think this is a norm we should accept? What do you suggest we do to rectify this?
Below is the full Shape article for those that would like to read a few additional findings they discovered: