Sorry, L.A. sushi lovers, but about 47% of sushi in your area is mislabeled with the wrong fish.
That’s according to a new study from the University of California, Los Angeles and Loyola Marymount University.
Between 2012 and 2015, researchers looked into 26 restaurants and found that many of the sushi had fish pretending to be something else. For example, in 43 orders of halibut and 32 orders of red snapper, flounder appeared to be used as substitute. The finding was determined through DNA sampling.
Paul Barber, senior author of the study, thought it may be intended (via Fox News):
“Fish fraud could be accidental, but I suspect that in some cases the mislabeling is very much intentional, though it’s hard to know where in the supply chain it begins. I suspected we would find some mislabeling, but I didn’t think it would be as high as we found in some species.”
Whether accidental or intentional, such mislabeling is expected to stop under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Seafood Import Monitoring Program, which aims to track around 25% of border-crossing seafood. Initiated by President Obama, it took effect on January 1.
Barber called for the importance of making informed choices:
“If we don’t have accurate information on what we’re buying, we can’t make informed choices. The amount of mislabeling is so high and consistent; one has to think that even the restaurants are being duped.”
However, while you may be concerned of the authenticity of your next roll, it pays to first be informed that your health and the environment might just be at risk.