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Topic: Why Does It Matter?
Posted by Everyman - 11:18:53 EST

Fake it is.


New round of DNA tests finds dozens of repeat offenders in fish mislabeling

A year after a Globe investigation found restaurants and stores across Massachusetts were routinely selling cheaper, lower-quality fish than they promised customers, a new round of DNA testing shows the vast majority are still mislabeling seafood.

Kenís Steak House in Framingham again served Pacific cod instead of a more expensive Atlantic species. Slices of fish sold as white tuna at Sea To You Sushi in Brookline were again actually escolar, an oily species nicknamed the "ex-lax" fish by some in the industry because it can cause digestion problems. H Mart, an Asian supermarket chain found to have sold mislabeled red snapper last year, this time was selling inexpensive freshwater Nile perch as pricier ocean grouper at its Burlington store.

Is it unfair to blame the people who actually sell the cheaper fish to the consumer, who orders from a table in their places of business?

Must the blame fall on someone else - 'tis the fashion these days, never letting the buck stop anywhere - and so there can never be any real accountability?

Maybe not.

Some restaurant operators who repeatedly mislabeled fish blamed suppliers. Others said naming inconsistencies were the result of clerical errors. Several made only partial revisions to their menus. Some, like at Hearth ín Kettle in Attleboro, corrected their menus, but waitstaff still wrongly described the fish as local. And a few said the issue was not a priority.

"Weíre too busy to deal with such silliness," Janet Cooper, of Kenís Steak House, said after several phone interviews during which she could not explain why the restaurant was still selling far less expensive Pacific cod as locally caught fish.

Hey, here's an idea. Let's make it a regular feature to list online and in the press those restaurants too busy to eliminate consumer fraud from their menus, and then we can all take the steps necessary to keep them from being so busy that they cannot demand of themselves that they do business in an ethical and legal manner.

Could work.

Oughta be a law?


After the Globeís "Fishy Business" series last fall, state and federal lawmakers pledged quick action to strengthen oversight of the seafood industry. US Representative Ed Markey, Democrat of Malden, filed a bill in July to require traceability of fish from the boat to the dinner plate, but the legislation hasnít moved out of House subcommittees.

We've got this one.


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