Canadian Seafood Fraud Lying To Consumers

Canadian seafood fraud

Canadian seafood fraud ripping off consumers is unsavoury.

It’s been going on for years.

And the government is not dealing with it.

Now there is another report detailing the unsavoury policy.

It comes from Oceana Canada, an advocacy group.

A new study found almost 50 per cent of seafood samples tested in Canadian grocery stores and restaurants were mislabeled.

And  44 per cent of 382 seafood samples tested from five Canadian cities did not meet the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s labelling requirements.

Canadian seafood companies are doing the old switch and bait tactic.

You buy white tuna but it is escolar.

Escolar is known as the laxative of the sea.

It can cause stomach issues like diarrhoea and vomiting.

Butterfish, snapper and yellowtail were mislabeled 100 per cent of the time.

Seafood is susceptible to food fraud because of a complicated global supply chain that allows for accidental or deliberate mislabeling at many stages from the fishing boat to the restaurant or store.

Canadian Seafood Fraud

“You’re getting ripped off,” says Julia Levin, seafood fraud campaigner for Oceana Canada.

And earlier this year Oceana Canada looked at fish labelling practices in Metro Vancouver.

It found:

Examples of mislabeled samples from the study include fish sold as:

  • Snapper and red snapper, which were actually tilapia, a much cheaper, farmed fish.
  • Halibut and sole, which were actually Sutchi catfish, which is endangered and may contain heavy-metal contaminants.
  • Sockeye salmon, which was actually pink salmon and rainbow trout.

“The cost isn’t just to your wallets. Without knowing what you are eating, you could consume food that is bad for your health. For example, escolar, known as “the laxative of the sea” because of the acute gastrointestinal symptoms it can cause, has been found to be a common substitute for both white tuna and butterfish in sushi restaurants.

“Mislabeling also allows endangered or threatened species, or fish that are farmed or caught in ways that harm the ocean, to be falsely sold as sustainable options, making it difficult for consumers to support sustainably caught seafood.”

Here is the full report on Metro Vancouver fish labelling practices.


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