Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Something fishy going on

National Geographic photograph
A recent New York Times article says that you might not be getting the fish you're paying for. For instance, the Oceana researchers who analyzed the DNA of 150 samples of fresh fish found that 13 types of fish, including tilapia and tilefish, were falsely identified as red snapper. Tilefish contains such high mercury levels that the FDA advises women who are pregnant or nursing and young children not to eat it. And 94 percent of fish sold as white tuna was not tuna. Much of it was escolar, which contains a toxin that can cause severe diarrhea if more than a few ounces of meat are ingested.

How can you be sure what you're eating? The FDA is stepping up its testing nationwide and adding DNA sequencing equipment to its field labs. It has collected hundreds of fillets from wholesalers for testing to determine the frequency of mislabeling and where to aim enforcement efforts.

When you hear someone say that the private sector can police itself, you might ask them how that would work for problems such as this.