Have you been attempting to cut out red meat from your diet but instead replacing it with fish? Ordinarily maybe not such a bad idea. Except for now, when an investigation by conservation group Oceana turns up evidence of massive labeling fraud all over New York City supermarkets and stores. How bad are we talking? Things from the morally icky, like re-labeling endangered fish to ones that are more plentiful, to straight-up physically damaging, by labeling otherwise dangerous to eat fish as common ones you’d find on your plate anywhere. Suddenly we’d like a carnitas taco instead of a fish one, please.
Ninety-four percent of fish presented and tested as tuna for instance, turned out to be the pleasant-sounding snake mackerel. Which hey, no big deal except for the severe diarrhea it can cause if you eat just a few ounces of it. And then there’s all the red snapper that turned out to be tilefish, which has the kind of mercury levels that can turn your kid into the next Mad Hatter.
Restaurants were quick to claim that they weren’t intentionally trying to mislead anyone, that it’s also hard for their buyers to distinguish between species of fish, which is just great news for anyone who had plans to go to a seafood restaurant this weekend. And while we’re not going to argue for vegetarianism here, maybe it’s not a bad time to leave the ocean to itself and stop eating seafood. Except for fried clams, which are delicious and have not been proven to be full of poison, yet.
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