The latest issue of Conservation Magazine, to which we were directed by a post on The Grinder, covers a study that confirms what you should have suspected all along: The fish you’re eating is just as likely as not to be something other than you think it is.
In 2006, eight students from Stanford University bought 77 fillets of Pacific red snapper, itself not a species, The Grinder points out, “but rather a catch-all term for 13 different species of Pacific rockfish.” Even so, after testing the samples’ DNA, the students found that more than half were mislabeled:
Those generic strips of flesh might as well have been called marine mystery meat. Sixty percent of them came from species other than what was written on the label, including Pacific Ocean perch and tilapia.
This report comes on the heels of a slew of similar findings, including the revelation that Robert Deniro’s high-end sushi chain, Nobu, serves endangered Atlantic bluefin on the sly. Then there was the case we mentioned here before, of the two New York City high school students who undertook a similar study to the Stanford researchers, collecting 60 pieces of sushi from restaurants around town, and putting them through DNA testing. They found that fully one quarter of the samples were mislabeled.
So who can you trust when it comes to fish labeling? Wish we could tell you. If you do find a supplier you trust, however, download the newly updated version of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Pocket Guide to help you figure out what the environment wants you to buy.
Imposter Fish [Conservation Magazine]
A Really Big Fish Tale [The Grinder]
Hypocritical Dining: Nobu Busted For Secretly Selling Endangered Sushi [Gawker]
Fish Tale Has DNA Hook [NY Times]
Seafood Watch Pocket Guide [Monterey Bay Aquarium]
Nobu [Official Site]
[Photo: Pacific red snapper off the coast of Mexico, via Puerto Rico Free Divers]