Supervisors Call For Report On Mislabeled Seafood Sold In Restaurants And Grocery Stores

Press Release posted 4/26/12 – Approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors, a motion by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich directed the Department of Public Health to work with Federal and State agencies to address seafood mislabeling in Los Angeles County.

“Consumers must have confidence that the fish they are buying at restaurants and grocery stores is safe and labeled correctly,” Antonovich said.

Recently, Oceana, a non-profit organization, ran tests on seafood sold at sushi venues and grocery stores in Los Angeles County and found that more than 50% was not labeled correctly.

Every single fish labeled as “snapper,” was a different fish, and 9 out of 10 sushi samples were mislabeled.  In fact, 8 of 9 sushi samples labeled as “white tuna” were actually “escolar” – a species that carries a health warning for its laxative effects.

The types of fish most frequently mislabeled were more expensive varieties including red snapper, white tuna, yellowtail, flounder, and sea bass.  While less expensive fish such as, albacore, blue fin tuna, flounder and sockeye salmon were all labeled properly.

Antonovich’s motion also calls for an assessment of the feasibility of Los Angeles County Public Health’s use of the FDA’s specialized laboratories for testing local samples of imported fish and a report back to the Board in 15 days on actions that are being taken.