Friday 15 March 2013

Fishy Business on the Other Side of the Pond

Authored by Mickey North Rizza 

On the heels of Europe's horse meat scandal, more stories are emerging about fraud in the food industry – this time with fish and in the U.S. 

A December report by Oceana, a non-profit ocean conservation group, revealed that seafood fraud is running rampant in major U.S. cities, including New York City, Boston and Los Angeles. Restaurants and fish sellers are practicing the art of the bait and switch – promise one kind of fish, such as tuna or wild salmon, and delivering escolar or farm-raised salmon instead (both cheaper options). 

According to the report, 39% of NYC restaurants and retail fish sellers were selling fraudulent fish, while Boston came in at 48% and LA at 55%.

Promising one thing and delivering a completely different product opens up restaurants and sellers to liability suits and exposes consumers to a host of unwanted consequences – from simply a less satisfying meal to potential allergic reactions or chemical exposure. 

Just as with the horse meat debacle, this situation is a reminder to food buyers that they need to institute safeguards to protect against the bait and switch. That all starts with operating a transparent supply chain, which includes having visibility into all levels of suppliers, complete with tests in place (in this case DNA) to ensure that you get what you pay for.

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