You think you are eating tuna, but it may not be tuna!
Many of us now feel uncertain about the seafood we eat. In general, most of us are fond of eating fish. But after a recent study about seafood adulteration and seafood frauds, everyone around is quite dicey, and now you should rethink about the fish you eat at home, or that is served to you in your local restaurant. With this being said, to be on the safe side, through companies like Seafresh where you can get your seafood delivered to your door, you shouldn’t have this issue anymore!
According to the study, 59% of the ‘tuna’ Americans eat is not actually tuna. Instead of tuna, snake mackerel, a type of fish known for carrying a toxin is served in restaurants and sushi restaurants are major places where they are serving different species. The seafood adulteration is a grave issue which most of the Americans are concerned nowadays. Some species which are mislabeled as tuna are actually coming with health hazards; for instance, snake mackerel which is mostly mislabeled as tuna is known for carrying a toxin that can cause severe diarrhea when eaten. These toxin-carrying fishes are not only sneaking into your dinners, but a number of other mislabeled fish as tuna, contains high levels of mercury, which, according to the federal Food and Drug Administration is harmful for the young children and women who are pregnant.
1 The Oceana Study
Oceana, a non-profit organization of the United States of America, which works for ocean and its protection, conducted a study recently. The goal is to find out how often fish is mislabeled as something other than what it actually is. They genetically tested about 1,215 samples of fishes from across the United States of America and some facts came up which were indeed surprising:
- 59% of the fish which is labeled “tuna” sold at restaurants and grocery stores is actually mislabeled and is not tuna, but a snake mackerel and other similar species.
- You will find mislabeled tuna fish mostly in sushi restaurants, then in grocery stores and other restaurants.
2 What is Seafood Fraud?
Now, you may worry after you came to know about seafood fraud. You may wonder if the tuna sub you ate few days back may not be really made with tuna, or the tuna you ordered at a restaurant is most probably not tuna. This is called seafood fraud, and this is a rampant global problem.
The Americans eat about 90% of seafood, which is imported. China, Indonesia, Thailand, and various other countries are the major suppliers of seafood in America. Mostly, exporters from these countries keep on mislabeling the fishes and other seafood items. They do it to avoid high tariffs and duties during the export. Similar species which are cheaper as compared to tuna and other popular fishes are replaced to get more profit margins.
3 Where Did It All Happen?
This is actually a tough question. As stated earlier, about 90% of seafood is exported to America and according to Oceana report, only 1% of seafood is inspected by the government for fraud. Apart from these, the United States of America has no free trade agreement with any Asian countries. This is a big loophole. So, it’s not possible to figure out where fraud possibly happens. It could be done on the boat, or it could happen in the fish farm. Seafood fraud can occur anywhere along the supply chain, between the ocean and the market. Moreover, it can happen in the restaurant itself!
4 Seafood Fraud Is Bad For Your Health!
Seafood is a very rich and nutritious food. It contains good cholesterol, omega-3 fatty acids, and different vitamins which are really good for your body. But due to too much adulteration in the seafood industry, one should be careful before eating tuna and other seafood.
- Escolar, which looks like tuna, is used in sushi restaurants and is also supplied in tin cans found in grocery stores. This fish causes digestive troubles.
- Snake mackerel, which is mostly mislabeled as tuna, is known for carrying a toxin that can cause severe diarrhea.
- Tuna fishes and similar species caught and exported from the Asian countries especially Japan, may be contaminated due to radiation from the Japanese power plant incident in March, 2011. In that respect are various reports of predictable fish contamination due to radiation. One tuna caught in 2013 on Californian coast was contaminated with radiation.
- Tuna are wild-caught from the ocean, but other species which are exported as tuna are mostly from rivers and lake. According to few reports, mercury contamination is higher in rivers and lakes. So, these fishes are most likely contaminated with high mercury, which is toxic and venomous.
5 Be Safe Against Seafood Fraud
Again, it’s very tough to find out whether it is safe to eat supplied tuna or not, but few things can be practiced to cut down the risk of seafood adulteration.
- According to Oceana, the place where you buy your fish matters a great deal. The greatest amount of fraud was found in sushi bars; it is approximately 76 percent. While 39 percent fraud occur in restaurants, and 29 percent happen in grocery stores.
- National chains saw only 12 percent of fraud as compared to local grocery stores. So, it is still safe to buy from national grocery store chains.
- Attempt to purchase fish from farmers and fisherman whom you can confide. Try to buy whole fish, and try to avoid many middlemen in between your seafood purchase.
- Try to stick with the seafood which is least likely to be mislabeled.
- Most importantly, if you found the price too good to be true, avoid it.