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Out of the 1,215 samples tested by ocean conservation group Oceana, 401 were determined to be mislabeled.
Amid the seafood sleuthing, Wayne Samiere says consumer knowledge is power. Samiere is the founder and CEO of Honolulu Fish Company and a trained marine biologist; he has also worked for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
"Information about various types of seafood is not as familiar to consumers as the basic facts about beef, chicken and pork," Samiere said. "Reputable seafood vendors make an effort to educate their customers about products they are selling. However, there are vendors who want to label their seafood products with a name that consumers know and find appealing."
With a few easy tricks, Samiere says you can feel empowered to avoid the old “bait and switch” problem next time you visit your local seafood counter or restaurant.
Five Ways to Knowledgeably Buy Seafood: Wayne Samiere
Another simple question you can ask waitstaff or a seafood retailer is: "Would you eat the fish raw as sashimi or sushi?" Sashimi requires the highest standard seafood products. A good vendor selling a respectable fish product won’t hesitate to say yes. If they have any doubts about the freshness or wholesomeness of their fish, you will usually be able to detect it in their response.
2. Educate yourself
For example, sea bass and red snapper are two popular fish that are available at restaurants around the globe. Unfortunately, they often can be the victim of the old bait-and-switch. To prevent this from happening, learn what characteristics each species offers and then research their substitutes. Any flaky, white meat fish can be substituted for sea bass or snapper including pollock, flatfishes, tilapia or catfish.
3. Avoid pre-frozen and pre-treated tuna
4. U.S. vs. foreign fish
5. Use your nose!
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