According to a new study from ocean conservation advocates Oceana, one-third of the nation’s seafood is mislabeled.
Oceana collected 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states to determine if they were honestly labeled. Mislabeling occurred anywhere from 87 percent (red snapper) to seven percent (salmon) depending on the kind of fish.
Forty-four percent of retail outlets mislabeled fish. The survey found a correlation between mislabeled fish sold at restaurants, grocery stores, and sushi venues. Sushi venues mislabeled fish the most, at 74 percent of the time. Restaurants mislabeled 38 percent of the time, and grocery stores mislabeled fish only 18 percent.
Austin — grouped with Houston from the study — was one of the worst offenders. Texas had the second highest seafood substitution rate in the country. Nearly 50 percent of all fish was mislabeled. While only four of the twenty-one grocery stores sold mislabeled fish, more than half of the twelve restaurants surveyed and all ten of the sushi venues surveyed sold mislabeled fish. Every sushi sample purchased in Texas for the study was mislabeled.
Red snapper was found to be the most mislabeled fish in the area. None of the eight samples tested were found to be red snapper.
Most of the fish found in the Texas Gulf was also found to be mislabeled. Snapper, drum, grouper, tuna, wahoo, and mahi mahi were all tested, but only samples of mahi mahi and wahoo were labeled honestly. That means those thinking the fish they're buying supports Texas fishers may have to reconsider.