Picking out fish should be a simple enough task, right? Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as grabbing a fresh-looking cut or some frozen shrimp and never giving it a second thought. These days we wonder: Does it have mercury? How much? What is its country of origin? Is it being overfished? And a new concern: Am I even getting the right fish?
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Loyola Marymount University recently performed DNA tests on sushi from 26 Los Angeles restaurants and found that 47 percent of it was mislabeled. Yellowfin tuna ended up being bigeye tuna, and red snapper and halibut orders were mislabeled 100 percent of the time, with most halibut turning out to be flounder. A one-year sampling of seafood from grocery stores showed similar rates of mislabeling, which suggests that the fish swap could be occurring earlier in the selling process. This may mean we’re overpaying and getting a less safe catch. Bigeye tuna, for example, is higher in mercury than yellowfin tuna.