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Nearly half of seafood mislabeled in Canada

Christian Fernsby |
Nearly half of the seafood samples from grocery stores and restaurants in Canada were mislabeled, according to an investigative report issued by Oceana Canada.

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Topics: CANADA    SEAFOOD   

This testing contributes to the Canadian conservationist group's national, multi-year investigation 2017-2019, which is the most comprehensive study of seafood fraud and mislabeling at grocery stores and restaurants ever conducted in Canada.

It shows that up to 47 percent of 472 samples collected in six Canadian cities from 2017-2019 were mislabeled. In addition to Montreal, it includes testing in Victoria where 67 percent were mislabeled, Toronto 59 percent mislabeled, Ottawa 46 percent mislabeled, Halifax 38 percent mislabeled and Vancouver 26 percent mislabeled.

Oceana Canada said that the country has a widespread fraudulent problem with seafood, and that it needs enforcing strict traceability laws.

"We have found farmed fish served up as wild caught, cheaper species substituted for more expensive ones and fish banned in many countries because of health risks masquerading as another species," said Oceana Canada's executive director Josh Laughren. "We've also uncovered rampant problems with Canada's seafood traceability and labeling standards. Canadians deserve to know that their seafood is safe, honestly labelled and legally caught."

"The good news is that there is a solution: implementing boat-to-plate traceability and comprehensive labeling in Canadian seafood supply chains. This means requiring key information to be paired with fish products from the point of harvest to the point of sale," he said.

"This will reduce instances of fraud and mislabeling, protect Canadian consumers, honest fishers and vulnerable fish populations, and help Canada's seafood industry access global markets many of which already demand stronger traceability," he added.

Experience from other countries shows that boat-to-plate traceability regulations can help stop fraud and protect both consumers and the oceans.

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