Two more cases of fish mislabeling hit the press this past weekend. Not that this is something new. We did quite a few studies in the past 5 years here in Guelph and we are not the only lab conducting those. However, given how frequent this bad habit is, it seems that both consumers and inspection authorities need equally frequent reminders. So here we go:
A TV station in Cincinnati, Ohio worked with us to test some local restaurants and grocery stores:
4 out of 15 samples were wrongly labelled although two of them might have been clerical errors. Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) was sold as Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides). The latter is often marketed as Chilean Sea Bass which is sanctioned by the US FDA. Both Dissostichus species have overlapping distributions and this case could be a simple mistake by the fisherman. Nevertheless, it is still not legal.
The second study was conducted in Italy and is even more concerning as it looked at the local fish market in Milan. Researchers from the University of Milan, Bicocca collected dogfish samples from 45 shops in Milan. In 85% cases samples were not dogfish at all. They mostly found 15 species that were not even on the commercial lists. Every month up to 20 tons of dogfish are sold in Milan alone. The price is around 15 Euros a kilo but the substitutes found are mostly worth less than 5 Euros. But there were also protected and endangered species among the samples. In one instance the team found great white shark.