Thursday, April 02, 2009

Seafood fraud is a big problem

USA Today says seafood fraud is a big problem.

What is seafood fraud? According to a USA Today story, which refers to a report on seafood fraud by the Government Accountability Office:

Sometimes excessive amounts of water, ice or breading are added to increase weight, sometimes seafood is shipped through an intermediate country to avoid customs duties, and sometimes packages are labeled as containing more seafood than they actually do, called short-weighting, the GAO report says. It was released this month.

The Food and Drug Administration is hearing about species substitution — selling cheap fish, often in fillet form, as more expensive species — "with increasing frequency," says spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek.

What does the seafood industry say about seafood fraud? "It's an industry-wide issue," says Gavin Gibbons of the industry's National Fisheries Institute. The GAO report says that seafood companies routinely receive written solicitations to buy fraudulent products. But the report says that when the National Fisheries Institute forwarded several solicitations to the FDA last year, the agency took no action, because insufficient funding forced the FDA to focus on health concerns ahead of fraud.

Until we get some solutions for seafood fraud, customers will have some sketicism about seafood, and that isn't good for anybody.

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