More evidence of seafood mislabelling

02 Apr 2013
Dr Mariani wants tougher regulation and better labelling. Credit: Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0

Dr Mariani wants tougher regulation and better labelling. Credit: Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0

Research from the University of Salford has found that large amounts of white fish sold in Britain are incorrectly labelled and sold as cheaper species of fish.

Seven per cent of cod and haddock was found to be either pollock or pangasius from Vietnam.

Dr Stefano Mariani, a biologist at the University of Salford told the BBC, “We noted that there were some suppliers that were consistently handling fish that was proven to be mislabelled, which suggests that a lot of mislabelling occurs before the fish gets delivered to the supermarket.”

Scientists say there is no serious health risk, but consumers should be getting what they have paid for.

Dr Mariani wants tougher regulation and better labelling and is worried that if fish aren't labelled correctly, overfishing of certain types could be harder to trace.

Paul Williams, the chief executive of UK authority Seafish, has issued a statement calling the deliberate mislabelling of seafood “entirely unacceptable and damaging to an industry which prides itself on the quality and sustainability of its products.”

He said that studies by the FSA in 2008 showed that 10% of seafood products sampled were mislabelled, so there is evidence to show that the work carried out by industry to mitigate these issues has been effective.

However, he said that this report shows that mislabelling is still happening and warns that anyone found to be deliberately misleading consumers will be dealt with immediately by Trading Standards. He said that seafood bought from local fishmongers, reputable food outlets or supermarkets is more than likely to be labelled correctly due to the high standards they abide to.

“Consumers should continue to have confidence in the industry while it works to ensure that this small percentage of mislabelling in the UK, whether that be through simple error or deliberate deception, is fully eradicated”, said Mr Williams.

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