After weeks of trying, you and your spouse were finally able to coordinate your schedules for a nice dinner out.
You love fish, so you immediately order the grilled wild salmon with a side of seasonal vegetables. When the meal arrives, it looks fantastic. It tastes even better, and when you leave the restaurant a couple of hours later, you’re full and happy.
And you never suspected for even a moment that the fish on your plate wasn’t wild salmon.
But according to a new report from international advocacy group Oceana, it’s highly likely that your dinner featured a less desirable, cheaper fish passed off as the more expensive (and less readily available) wild salmon.
The group conducted DNA tests on more than a thousand samples across the country and found that, often, the fish on your plate is not the species that was listed on the menu. How often? About half the time.
Yep, I was pretty shocked, too.
In the United States, 84 percent of the seafood we eat is imported. Only two percent of that seafood is inspected. Less than 0.001 percent is inspected for fraud. So it’s no wonder that seafood is mislabeled anywhere from 25 to 70 percent of the time depending on the species of fish.
Oceana wants the government to trace seafood origins the same way foods like bananas are traced. Right now, organic bananas can easily be traced back to their packing stations. And the technology is there to take similar measures with seafood.
Right now, Oceana says the best thing you can do is ask questions. Dine and shop at places that emphasize the sourcing of their ingredients.
The following questions can be helpful:
- What kind of fish is this?
- Is it farmed or wild caught?
- Where was it caught, and when?
- How was it caught?
- Was it previously frozen?
If you’re interested in learning more about seafood fraud and how it can be prevented, Oceana’s report called "Bait and Switch: How Seafood Fraud Hurts Our Oceans, Our Wallets and Our Health" can be downloaded here.
Ms. O’Brien has written for Nutrition & Healing, Healthier Talk and a variety of other natural and alternative health outlets. She believes in the power of natural medicine and her goal is to open people’s eyes to the benefits of alternative and integrative medicine.
Christine is passionate about helping people help themselves without having to turn to harsh drugs or invasive surgeries.
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