25% fish mislabeled, article [General]

2008 Aug 21
interesting article in the globe and mail about 25% of fish is being mislabeled.

www.theglobeandmail.com

2008 Aug 21
Wow, you'd think they wouldn't get away with that! Especially substituting tilapia for tuna... they have totally different flesh!

I found the following bit at the end to be particularly interesting:

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He says the most obvious case of "outright lying" in recent years has been the pawning off of farmed Atlantic salmon as wild. How to tell? Examine the V-shaped pattern of white fat in the flesh. If the white deposits are thick and conspicuous, the fish is likely farmed. Most wild species, such as sockeye and coho, have deep red flesh. One exception is chinook, or spring, salmon, whose flesh can appear farmed depending on the size of the fish.

Another big issue for consumers is the fraudulent labelling of product as fresh when it is in fact frozen. Mr. Clark says one of the biggest deceptions in recent years in British Columbia has been "jet fresh" Chilean sea bass. "Not one ounce of Chilean sea bass imported into this country is fresh," he says.
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2008 Aug 21
I'd suggest reading Bottomfeeder by Taras Grescoe if you found that article interesting.

2008 Aug 22
Speaking of farmed salmon, I heard Dr. David Suzuki speak on this topic. He just slams the whole industry.

Here is some of things he talked about:

---> www.sectionz.info <---

and as for that nice color of farmed salmon:

---> www.cbc.ca <---

The picture here is the color chart for the SalmoFan(tm) dye fish farmers add to the fish food pellets , just before harvesting. It gets the fish flesh to go from grey to the selected color ... just right for consumers.

I think I like my farmed salmon a SalmoFan number 28.


2008 Aug 22
Interesting article, I for one never used to care much about where my fish came from... now I read a lot more. I try to buy off a reputable fishmonger whenever I buy fresh, and if I want something frozen (mostly seafood) then I read the packaging. I have pretty much stopped buying from the Asian Pacific (particularly China) because of all the things I've read about their fishing practices.

Captain C - Ok, I got to say that "fan deck" and the "colouring" process is a huge turn off... unfortunately, I supose it is a fact of life with farmed salmon.
:-(

As an aside... to this whole labelling thing.

I recently had some flash frozen King Crab from Loblaws, and it was very good (I also like their Lobster and some of their Giant Prawns that come packaged this way). Anyhow, I was creating a FOOD entry here on Ottawa Foodies, when I noticed that the king crab I had WAS NOT from Alaska, but rather Russia, I was somewhat surprised. That somewhat modified my take on the Loblaws product (although not enough to stop me from purchasing it in the future). Hence the two NEW FOOD entries - Alaskan King Crab and King Crab (not Alaskan).

2008 Aug 22
Um. Alaska used to be part of Russia. Take a look at the map : maps.google.ca,-97.15369&sspn=37.347818,71.279297&ie=UTF8&ll=65.946472,-169.453125&spn=24.140682,71.279297&z=4

It's the same place, isn't it? I mean the water part - where the crabs live.

If it just said "King Crab" why would you expect it to come from Alaska? I don't consider that mislabeling. And I don't think there is a need to differentiate between them in terms of different food entries. The Kind Crab certainly don't recognize political boundaries.

2008 Aug 22
Zym - LOL, of course it doesn't matter to the Crab. But it might to the consumer.

As for the map thing, and the political boundary, there is one. So it would therefore be incorrect to call King Crab "Alaskan King Crab" and I'm thinking that in the foodie world that is the case too, otherwise the package I bought would have said "Alaskan King Crab" vs just "King Crab".

As I reflect on this issue, I'm thinking there must be stricter guidelines on seafood vs finned fish (as per the original article from the Globe & Mail), it seems to me that the seafood market is much like the wine market (again as per the article) in it's labelling practices and recognized regions. For example, "Maritime Lobster" vs "Maine Lobster", "Matane Shrimp", "PEI Mussels" etc.

Interesting though (as per the article) that somehow Finned Fish doesn't seem to have to label this way. I know now as a consumer I'm becoming more and more interested in where my food originates. And I suppose with the whole 100 Mile Food Movement, more people are becoming aware of this issue.

2008 Aug 22
I guess my point was I'm not sure why it would matter to the consumer. Calling it "Alaskan King Crab" is nothing but giving in to the Alaskan King Crab fisheries association's (or whatever they call themselves) marketing. The King Crab will pretty much be King Crab, regardless of where it comes from. Same goes for "Maine Lobster" or whatever - it's marketing. Has little if anything to do with the product. I don't think we need entries for "Maine Lobster", "Maritime Lobster", and so on, either.

I know it would be therefore incorrect to call it "Alaskan King Crab" if it were not from Alaska. I wasn't saying that. Not sure where you got that. I was commenting on the converse. You bought King Crab and then seemed surprised that it was not from Alaska. My comment was ... oh, never mind. My point was exactly what you said : otherwise the package I bought would have said "Alaskan King Crab" vs just "King Crab"

2008 Aug 22
Why not just call it Bering Sea King Crab.

2008 Aug 23
Captain C - I thought of that, but as it turns out there is King Crab from other parts of the world as well... like Chile around Antartica (something I learned in my research when creating the "Non-Alaskan" Food item). So I thought it best that it was identified as "Alaskan" and "Non-Alaskan". I guess though, that Zym is right in that the identifier may be more of a marketing tool than anything else... to encourage Americans in particular to support their own fishing industry. That said though, I do think that people generally associate King Crab with the whole idea of "Alaskan King Crab" I know I do / did. I don't think it unreasonable to have two (and just 2) categories for this food item so that there is a distinction between the two categories available. And to tie it back to the topic at hand... sort of like Salmon, I do believe there is a difference between Wild Salmon and Farmed Salmon. I have read there is a significant difference in them nutritionally in regards to Omega-3s among other things.

2008 Aug 23
Actually, Bottomfeeder (by Taras Grescoe, as I previously pointed out) pretty much touches on all of this: seafood labelling, seafood origin, salmon dye, wild. vs. farmed salmon, etc. Again, I highly recommend it :) (I swear I am in now way related to the author or agent or publisher)

2008 Aug 24
I'd like to second the recommendation to read Bottomfeeder by Taras Grescoe (you can get it from the Ottawa Public Library). This book certainly opened my eyes, and changed my buying habits. In addition, an excellent site to research sustainable seafood, and download a convenient reference guide, suitable for printing, is SeaChoice (www.seachoice.org).

So, which local fishmongers and restaurants can be trusted to do the right thing and provide us with the straight goods on what they're selling? Any opinions?

2008 Aug 24
BDM - I've had very good experiences at Pelican Fishery & Grill on Bank St. Most staff there are extremely knowledgeable and will give you honest advice & info to help you with your purchase.

2008 Aug 25
Pelican, eh? They're too far from me to justify making a special trip, but I'll definitely give them a try if I'm nearby for some other reason. I tried their restaurant a couple of times (several years ago), but wasn't impressed - the fish was overcooked both times.

My dream is that someone will open a Sustainable Seafoods emporium somewhere in the west end... and while I'm dreaming, let's put it in easy walking distance of me (Lincoln Fields area). Sigh... the reality is, we're going in the opposite direction - we even lost our local fruit & veggie store a while back. And so it goes...

So, who's got more suggestions for trustworthy local fishmongers and chefs? Domus has a daily "Canadian Coast to Coast Sustainable Fish Selection" on their menu, so there's one to note (alas, that was the dish that I found too salty when I dined there recently).

2008 Aug 27
BDM - I've had good experiences in the past with Lapointe's in Bells Corners, and sometimes I will buy fish from a larger Farm Boy (where I know there is a lot of turnover). I WON'T BUY FROM LOBLAWS or any other Grocery Store, I just don't believe there is enough sales volume so their products are not the freshest. (Plus I had a bad Sushi experience with them, and that was enough to turn me off their "fresh" fish forever).

2008 Aug 27
BDM, perhaps its no closer for you than Pelican, but i think Whalesbone (Bank st.) also makes mention on their menu of a commitment to sustainable fish operations; and our server was very specific (about provenance) in answer to my partner's questions when we went recently.

2008 Aug 27
Good to hear that about Whalesbone... I've actually never been there, but it's on my "to do" list.

F&T - Lapointe's in Bells Corners was our main source of seafood for many years, and we still go there occasionally, but it seems to have gone downhill somewhat. At some point a few years back, the friendly staff that we knew disappeared, and the selection seemed to decline. I feel much the same way about their restaurant on the premises - we liked it a lot more when it was tiny (a half dozen tables or so) and didn't take reservations.

2008 Aug 28
BDM - There definitely has been a change in recent years at the Bell's Corner's location, but I still find them better than the Grocery Store alternative. I haven't bought fish at the Kanata Lapointe's location (since they moved to Colchester Square from Signature Centre), but I have been to that location for dinner and it was good... perhaps I should check out their Fish Shop and do a Review.