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Study Finds Los Angeles Sushi Restaurants Often Serve Mislabeled Fish

A new study from researchers at UCLA and Loyola Marymount University has found that approximately 47 percent of sushi that is served in restaurants across Los Angeles is mislabeled. The study was conducted by testing the DNA of fish at 26 local sushi restaurants.

According to the study, the incidence and frequency of mislabeling greatly depends on the type of fish ordered. On one hand, salmon was labeled correctly about 90% of the time. On the other hand, fish labeled as red snapper and halibut were mislabeled 100% of the time. Every time the restaurants claimed to serve red snapper or halibut, they in reality served a different kind of fish. In 9 out of 10 cases, diners ordering halibut were instead served flounder – a cheaper fish. With respect to fish served as red snapper, it could be one of at least 8 different species, including again cheaper and less desirable fish such as tilapia. Other species of fish that were found to be frequently mislabeled were yellowtail and yellowfin tuna.

Food Fraud is Widespread

Mislabeling and food fraud are not confined to sushi, but exist across many different food products and categories. According to a recent Time magazine article, “in recent years, there has been an uptick in reports of so-called food fraud.” As the article explained, the motives behind such practices are obvious:

“By and large, the fraudsters are trying to make easy money – charging for a whole food or pricey ingredient, then cutting it with cheaper stuff on the sly.”

The examples of fraud given by the article include “natural” honey laced with antibiotics and Italian companies selling “Italian olive oil” from a blend of oils that did not originate in Italy.

Consumer and Class Action Attorneys at Broslavsky & Weinman

If you believe that you purchased a product that is not what it is claimed to be or is otherwise mislabeled, you can contact the consumer lawyers at Broslavsky & Weinman to discuss your options and potential claims. You can fill out the contact form or call us directly at 310-575-2550.

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