Deception, once again

This is not so much an eco question, but it is another example of how profits are put before people, how shops, businesses and companies deceive their customers.

Mislabelled fish slip into Europe’s menus

Fish often take a circuitous route before reaching our plate

We are all eating much more fish than we used to – but are we eating the fish we think we are?

Official figures show that global consumption of fish and seafood per person is rising steeply – but research also reveals that much of what gets sold turns out to be not as described on the packet.

Earlier this year Europe’s horsemeat scandal revealed how processed meat can get mislabelled in a complicated supply chain. That appears to be an issue with fish, too.

On a large scale, cheap fish is being substituted for expensive fish without the consumer knowing. Moreover, new varieties, never before consumed, are being detected in fish dishes.

Take a British national dish, for example: fish and chips. It is often thought to be the epitome of Britishness – “as British as fish and chips”, the saying goes.

But scientific testing reveals that the traditional cod or haddock and chips is often something else entirely. Research reveals that 7% of cod and haddock – the deep-fried staples of British fish and chips – actually turn out to be cheaper fish substituted to cut costs.

In the Republic of Ireland, a similar study of samples bought in Dublin restaurants, shops and supermarkets revealed that a quarter of products labelled as cod or haddock were in fact completely different species.

In the United States, a study showed that 25% of the fish served in restaurants in New York were not what they were said to be on the menu.

And in Europe, about a quarter to a third of fish products tested turned out to be not what was described on the packet or menu.

New species

Fish and chips: much-loved, but do you know where the fish came from?

The global industry transports large amounts of frozen fish around the world in containers, with China producing much of it. This means, for example, that one of the biggest points of entry for fish into the European Union is not a port at all – no wharves or boats or even water. It is Frankfurt airport.

Samples here and elsewhere across Europe are tested at the big Eurofins laboratory in Hamburg. Its Director of Scientific Development, Dr Bert Popping, said that tests were turning up types of fish which had never been in the food chain before.

“The authorities at the airport in Frankfurt have found some new species – species which have not been caught previously; fish species which have not previously entered the food chain; which have not previously been commercialised,” he said.

So researchers believe that there is large-scale deception going on when it comes to fish – cheap is being substituted for expensive, so deceiving the consumer and bumping up the profits of the deceiver.

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Opinion:

One of the fish mentioned is the Vietnamese Pangasius

Big fish, lots of flesh

Big fish, lots of flesh

Nice pinky flesh, looks good enough to eat

Nice pinky flesh, looks good enough to eat

It's raised in the Mekong River Delta

It’s raised in the Mekong River Delta

The Mekong River is arguably Asia’s biggest cesspool!

The Mekong River comes from China, passes Burma, Laos, Cambodia with the delta in Vietnam collecting sewerage and industrial waste along its entire length.

Has your fish ‘n chips, or your fancy New York restaurant food been raised on Asian faeces?

This fish called, among other things, Panga has taken the world by storm. It’s cheap, it looks good, but is it healthy?

One report labels it ‘the latest abberation of globalisation’, another ‘Government pressured into removing Vietnamese panga from school canteens, and another Don’t Eat this fish: Pangas (Pangasius, Vietnamese River Cobbler, White Catfish, Gray Sole), yet anotherI don’t know how someone came up with this one out but they’ve discovered that if they inject female Pangas with hormones made from the dehydrated urine of pregnant women, the female Pangas grow much quicker and produce eggs faster (one Panga can lay approximately 500,000 eggs at one time).’

The bottom line is making profits!

Update

Through a comment by ECOCRED, I found she had a very pertinent post on the same subject; Seafood: Fraud, Mis-labelling and Laundering

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10 responses to this post.

  1. OH YUK! speechless from Jakarta! 🙂

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    • >Lottie, you understand by what I mean as an Asian cesspool, I imagine that Indonesian rivers are similar.

      AV

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      • Absolutely! hence the YUK. I really resent having to drink bottled water here but if I don’t, I know that I will be very ill. My guts aren’t used to the myriad pathogens swirling around in those grubby waters quite yet! The rivers here are absolutely filthy, apart from of course the ones up in the mountains but sadly I don’t live on a mountain, I live on a traffic island in the middle of a city with 12 million others 🙂

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      • Thought so… 🙂

        AV

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  2. Follow the money….

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  3. Profit first, all other meanings including health forgotten.

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  4. Yes! The mislabeling of fish is awfull and you are quite right about the fact that it is indicative that profits are placed well above people. However, I also think that it indicates how profits are placed above nature and sustainable food production. in my post….i have touched on the sustainbility aspects of the seafood fraud issue please have a look if you are keen: http://ecocred.me/2012/11/20/seafood-fraud-mis-labeling-and-laundering/

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