The largest international ocean conservation organization is calling for end-to-end traceability throughout the entire seafood supply chain following a study released involving the mislabeling of America’s favorite fish – salmon. Oceana has released a new study that collected 82 salmon samples from restaurants and grocery stores and found that 43 percent were mislabeled.
DNA testing confirmed that most of the mislabeling (69 percent) consisted of farmed Atlantic salmon being sold as wild-caught product.
“Americans might love salmon, but as our study reveals, they may be falling victim to a bait and switch,” said Beth Lowell, senior campaign director at Oceana. “When consumers opt for wild-caught U.S. salmon, they don’t expect to get a farmed or lower-value product of questionable origins."
Highlights of the findings from Oceana’s salmon data combined (466 samples in total) include:
Diners were five times more likely to be misled in restaurants than grocery stores (38 percent vs. 7 percent).
Consumers are less likely to be misled in large grocery store chains that are required to give additional information about seafood.
Salmon purchased out-of-season from all retail types was three times more likely to be mislabeled than salmon purchased during the commercial fishing season (23 percent vs. 8 percent, respectively).
So how can restaurants and grocery store chains protect their customers from being misled as well as protect their brand from being associated with food fraud? End-to-end traceability software is one way. Implementing traceability software enables companies to know precisely who they are sourcing their food products from, tracing back all the way to the original supplier.
Traceability software also allows restaurants and retail grocers to clearly communicate their sourcing requirements - whether wild-caught, non-GMO or certified organic - directly with their suppliers and manage auditing and assessments of those suppliers. Over time, with a robust traceability system in place, restaurants and retailers will know exactly which suppliers are committed to their brand promise of fighting food fraud - and who isn't.
Source: Oceana’s full report provides a breakdown of its investigation.