A study in 30 countries reveals fraud in seafood restaurants

Revealed a report published by the newspaper The Guardian The British, Monday, March 15, 2021, that seafood stores in many countries around the world are clearly cheating in what they offer to the masses.

An analysis by the British newspaper of 44 recent studies targeting 9,000 samples of seafood in restaurants, fish vendors and commercial markets in more than 30 countries revealed that 36% of them were mislabeled.

Fish sales

Many studies have used relatively new techniques for DNA analysis. In one of the comparisons of fish sales that fish traders, commercial markets and restaurants in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand call the “snapper” fish, researchers found a misleading name in about 40% of the fish. That have been tested.

The United Kingdom and Canada also recorded the highest rates of misnomation in that study, at 55%, followed by the United States at 38%.

Sometimes the fish were named after different species, but from the same family. In Germany, for example, 48% of tested specimens claiming to be king scallops were actually the least requested Japanese scallops.

Shark samples

Of 130 shark fillet samples purchased from Italian fish markets and fish vendors, the researchers found an error rate of 45%, with cheaper and more unwanted species of shark compared to those more valuable to Italian consumers.

Other alternatives were endangered species, and in one of the studies conducted in 2018, nearly 70% of samples from across the United Kingdom sold as snapper a different fish, and the fish came from an amazingly 38 different species, including many. A species that lives in coral reefs.

While other samples came to prove that they are not entirely from aquatic organisms, samples of shrimp balls sold in Singapore usually showed that they contained pork without any trace of shrimp.

Scam in the fish market

Fish market fraud has long been a known problem worldwide. And because seafood is among the food commodities most traded internationally, often through complex and opaque supply chains, it is highly susceptible to mislabeling and classification.

Much of the global catch is moved from fishing boats to large transshipment vessels for processing, where mislabeling is relatively easy and lucrative.

However, the studies in question sometimes target fish species known to be problematic, which means that it is imprecise to conclude that 36% of all global seafood is necessarily misleading.

The studies use different methodologies and samples. Also, fish is not always deliberately mislabeled, although the vast majority of alternatives included low-priced fish replacing higher-priced fish, indicating fraud rather than neglect.

Low-value fish

There is a huge economic incentive to sell low-value fish instead of the more popular and more expensive species, and even make more money by “washing” illegally caught fish.

“Fish washing” is often associated with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by large “remote” fleets, with foreign-flagged vessels operating off the coasts of Africa, Asia and South America.

All too often, fishing is handled aboard large transshipment vessels, where wrong labels and classifications are placed and legal and illegal fish are confused in relative secrecy. The risk of being caught is low, as monitoring and transparency are weak along the seafood supply chain.

On the other hand, a study concluded that what is known as fish washing leads to an economic loss of between $ 26 billion and $ 50 billion annually, because illegal fish or fraudulently classified undermines the legal industry.

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