Study: Nearly half of all fish sold mislabeled

March 7, 2013 4:11:52 AM PST
Here's a story that'll make you think twice the next time you eat fish. There's a chance is the fish on your plate isn't the fish it claims to be.

The nationwide two-year study included restaurants in Houston and found that 49 percent of the fish purchased here was labeled incorrectly.

A lot of care is taken to get things right with the seafood dishes at the Houston Texans Grill. It starts with direct contact with the fishermen.

"Not only does he let us know that the swordfish came fresh from the Gulf, because we bring in the whole fish, but he also has the ability to tag it and let us know within 10 miles where that actual fish was caught," Houston Texans Grill general manager Jimmy McMillan said.

But apparently not everyone is as particular, according to the ocean conservation advocacy group Oceana.

The group says it collected samples across the country which were identified by DNA analysis. According to the study, 49 percent of the fish it bought in Houston was mislabeled.

Oceana's report found that most of the mislabeled fish was white tuna. A whopping 88 percent of those samples were actually a fish called escolar, which is cheaper and something the group says can cause serious and acute digestive effects in some people, if they eat more than a couple of ounces.

At Crave Sushi in Midtown, owner John Hoang says he buys the real thing but has seen others cut corners.

"A fish like grouper, it can get pretty expensive per pound, you buy it by the pound. And some times they cannot afford it and they look at the bottom dollar, so they end up cutting costs, they look for substitutions," Hoang said.

To make sure the fish you order is what you are eating, ask if the restaurant buys the entire fish. If they buy pre cut pieces the fish could be mislabeled and it is possible the restaurant will not even know.

Another tip, the price, a fish like grouper is expensive, so that five dollar grouper sandwich you get may not be made with grouper.

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