Buying Sushi In LA? You Might Not Get The Fish You Want

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By Cooking Panda

According to a new study, sushi in Los Angeles is being mislabeled on a staggeringly high basis. If you’re in the market for sushi in LA, this news is for you.

The UCLA has published a press release alerting the public to this shocking new issue. Researchers at UCLA and Loyola Marymount University conducted a study in which they tested the DNA of the sushi ordered in 26 different LA restaurants from the years 2012 to 2015. What they found was a bit disturbing. Forty-seven percent of that sushi ended up being mislabeled. Most of the fish that were mislabeled were supposed to be halibut or red snapper, so buyers beware. For the most part, the tuna was labeled correctly, and the salmon was only mislabeled one in 10 times.

According to Southern California news source 89.3 KPCC, Paul Barber, a senior author of the study, said that the apparent fraud undermines environmental regulations on overfishing. That means, not only do consumers not always know what they’re eating (a health risk in itself), but threatened fish populations are also affected.

“Half of what we’re buying isn’t what we think it is,” Barber said. “Fish fraud could be accidental, but I suspect that in some cases the mislabeling is very much intentional. […] I suspected we would find some mislabeling, but I didn’t think it would be as high as we found in some species.”

I guess if you’re having a real hankering for fish in LA, at least choose tuna or salmon to fulfill that urge. If you choose halibut or red snapper, you’re probably going to be served something different. The sad part is that it could even be something endangered. The study showed that although tuna buyers were getting tuna, they weren’t always getting the right kind of tuna. The researchers said that out of nine orders of yellowfin tuna, seven would be a different type, usually bigeye, which is a vulnerable and overexploited species.

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Likewise, those who ordered halibut were often served flounder, and about four in 10 of those flounder were overfished or near threatened. Clearly, there is a need for more oversight in this market. I’m only glad that these researchers have brought this to light.

Sources: UCLA Press Release, 89.3 KPCC / Photo Credit: Sushi Shop/Instagram

Tags: fish, Food Labeling, LA, sushi
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