Oct 28 2014

FDA finds wholesale seafood products are labeled correctly 85% of the time

Posted by permission of SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SCOM] October 27, 2014

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A two-year long investigation by the FDA into seafood mislabeling among wholesaler distributors found that fish products are labeling correctly 85 percent of the time.

The FDA’s study (the report can be found here) tested seven hundred DNA samples collected from wholesalers in 14 states, prior to restaurant or retail sale. Part of the study had the FDA target seafood that is most often suspected to be mislabeled including cod, haddock, catfish, basa, swai, snapper and grouper. Of that group, the FDA said a majority of the mislabeling was found in two species, snappers and groupers, which represent less than two percent of total seafood sales.

“This extensive federal analysis brings the challenge of mislabeling into a much clearer focus,” said John Connelly, President of the National Fisheries Institute (NFI.) “While at the same time calling into question other mislabeling ‘studies’ that suggest the issue is widespread and in need of a legislative fix.”

The NFI has previously called for more enforcement of federal and state labeling laws, rather than new legislation, noting that multiple anti-fraud laws already exist.

“What the FDA found reinforces the need for implementation of rules already on the books,” said Lisa Weddig, Secretary of the Better Seafood Board (BSB.) “We don’t need more regulations and rhetoric, we need more enforcement.”

Along with releasing the findings, the FDA also released its first-ever online seafood labeling training module designed to instruct industry participants, retailers and state regulators how to properly label seafood items throughout the supply chain.

“Proper identification of seafood is important throughout the seafood supply chain to ensure that appropriate food safety controls are implemented and that consumers are getting the type of seafood they expect and for which they are paying,” the FDA said.

Meanwhile, the BSB and the National Restaurant Association will work together on the labeling issue through a memorandum of understanding that includes educational outreach and even menu audits.

“Eighty-five percent of seafood was labeled correctly and the mislabeling was focused on two species,” said Connelly. “Our job is to work with companies and focus on those problem areas.” He continued, “This type of information gives regulators important insights and helps them focus their resources. New laws don’t do that.”

Photo Credit: FDA


Ken Coons
SeafoodNews.com 1-781-861-1441
Email comments to kencoons@seafood.com

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