Scientists Use DNA Testing to Detect Seafood Fraud

bluefin-tuna-was-the-only-fish-that-was-labeled-in-100-of-samples

How much did you pay for that slice of halibut sashimi? What about those two pieces of red snapper? According to a study published in the journal Conservation Biology on Friday, you likely paid too much. This may be frustrating news for sushi lovers, but it’s good news for flounder lovers: Any time you’ve been served halibut in a sushi restaurant, rest assured that you probably ate flounder. But the problem is much broader than just this one substitution. Demian Willette, of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Los Angeles , and his colleagues found that 47 percent of the samples they collected were mislabeled. That means your odds of getting the sushi you ordered are slightly better than a coin toss.

If you think this is an issue associated with lower-tier sushi joints, think again. Willette and his colleagues had their undergraduate students gather samples over four years from 26 sushi restaurants that were rated highly by customers on Zagat and Yelp in the greater Los Angeles area. They used a genetic testing technique called DNA barcoding, in which particular portions of DNA can be used to identify an individual as part of a species, to verify the identities of the samples. All of the restaurants had at least one incident of mislabeling during the four year period, with an average mislabeling rate of 45.5 percent.

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GMOs Kicked Out of U.S. Organics Guidelines

on Monday, Nov 28th, 2016 CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

usda-organic

The National Organic Standards Board voted unanimously last week to update its U.S. standards to ban ingredients derived from new genetic engineering techniques from certified organic products.

The vote served as a recommendation by the NOSB to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program. The board says it will ensure ingredients that are derived from new GE techniques will not wind up in organic certified foods and beverages.

“The NOSB is clear that GMOs do not belong in organic,” Dana Perls, senior food and technology campaigner for Friends of the Earth, told TriplePundit. “In the absence of strong federal regulations on the labeling and commercialization of genetic engineering, the organic standard continues to provide consumers with a transparent and clear way to avoid GMOs in the food they eat.”

One of the new GE methods the board is concerned about is synthetic biology, which designs and constructs new organisms to either produce something they would not normally produce or to edit DNA to stop certain traits from being expressed, according to FOE.

Some synthetic biology ingredients are ending up in food and consumer products without sufficient labeling, just as traditional GE ingredients do. GE ingredients in general lack adequate oversight, the group insists. And some are labeled as ‘natural,’ which is incredibly misleading to consumers. Although a few states passed mandatory GE labeling laws, the federal requirements are murky. Back in August, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law that preempts state GE labeling laws, virtually striking them down with what many call a lackluster federal labeling requirementRead more of this post

“Organic” Food From China Found To Be Highly Contaminated

Food imported from China and labeled “organic” is anything but.

Chinese Market

With more and more people learning about the importance of eating healthy and safe produce, consumer demand for all things “organic” has skyrocketed. In the US alone, annual organic food sales have grown by 20% and the increased demand is significantly outpacing domestic supplies, forcing many grocers and food vendors to look internationally to keep their businesses stocked. Most of these organic imports are grown in the European Union, where organic standards are weaker than those of the US. However, many of these “organic” products are from China, whose food industry standards for safety and quality are notoriously low. Much of this “organic” produce grown in China is so unsafe, that the farmers who grow it won’t eat it themselves. Isn’t that the whole point of choosing organic in the first place?

It turns out that much of the food labelled “organic” was never grown with the intention of being organic, but rather as a means to circumvent China’s reputation for substandard produce. US Customs personnel often reject entire shipments of food from China due to the addition of dangerous and unsavory additives, the presence of drug residues, mislabeling, or the poor hygienic state of the food. In an effort to get around these bulk rejections of food, some Chinese food exporters have taken to labeling their products “organic,” especially those foods that appear dirty or unusual. In addition, the “organic” label in China has no meaning as collusion between the government and manufacturers has led to rampant mislabeling, and China’s government has no established system for determining what is or is not organic.
Chinese Fish Master

Dead fish being removed after a fertilizer factory dumped huge amounts of ammonia into the Fu river Credit – NYT

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Study Finds High Levels of Salmon Fraud in Restaurants

Study finds very high level of salmon fraud in restaurants
Take another look at your restaurant salmon this winter. (Photo: Getty images)

As winter approaches, take a second look at that wild salmon entree you paid a premium for in a restaurant. It’s likely mislabeled. Read more of this post

Costco Faces Lawsuit over Sale of Prawns Allegedly Farmed by Slave Labor

Costco Faces Lawsuit over Sale of Prawns Allegedly Farmed by Slave Labor

Costco Wholesale Corp. customer sued the retailer on allegations that it knowingly sold frozen prawns that were the product of slave labor. Read more of this post

How Safe Is Your Shrimp?

How safe is your shrimp?

Your guide to choosing the healthiest, tastiest, and most responsibly sourced shrimp. (Photo: Getty Images)

Each of us eats, on average, almost 4 pounds per year, making shrimp more popular than tuna. Once considered a special-occasion treat, shrimp has become so ubiquitous that we now expect to find it on the menu whether we’re at a pricey restaurant or a fast-food joint. Read more of this post

Slavery Taints Global Supply of Seafood

Seafood, Slaves, Shrimp, Tilapia

In this Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014 image from video, workers from Myanmar load fish onto a Thai-flagged cargo ship in Benjina, Indonesia. An intricate web of connections separates the fish we eat from the men who catch it, and obscures a brutal truth: Your seafood may come from slaves. (AP Photo/APTN)

The Burmese slaves sat on the floor and stared through the rusty bars of their locked cage, hidden on a tiny tropical island thousands of miles from home. Read more of this post

Asian Seafood Raised on Pig Feces Approved for U.S. Consumers

Asian Seafood Raised on Pig Feces Approved for U.S. Consumers

Shrimp farmers in Ca Mau province in Vietnam, use ice made from tap water that the government says isn’t safe to drink without boiling it, Sept 10, 2012. Photographer: Viet Dung Tran/ Bloomberg Markets via Bloomberg.

At Ngoc Sinh Seafoods Trading & Processing Export Enterprise, a seafood exporter on Vietnam’s southern coast, workers stand on a dirty floor sorting shrimp one hot September day. There’s trash on the floor, and flies crawl over baskets of processed shrimp stacked in an unchilled room in Ca Mau. Read more of this post

Survey Finds That Fish Are Often Not What Label Says

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