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May 17th, 2012
Written by Elizabeth Sullivan on May 17, 2012in Chefs, Featured, seafood - 0 Comments
Even eaters and chefs dedicated to sustainable food often find themselves in troubled waters when it comes to seafood. Defining “local” when it comes to fish is a difficult task, as we know from our own new Fish to Fork program, nor is local fish guaranteed to be sustainably raised or caught.
And as if that’s not hard enough, increasingly the fish on your plate may not be what you think it is.
In 2011, Oceana, an international research, education, and advocacy group, released a report that said 25 to 70% of seafood is mislabeled. Recently, the group did extensive testing in LA and found that 55% of the 119 seafood samples they took were labeled incorrectly. Instead of wild salmon, unethical distributors are passing off cheaper, less desirable farmed salmon, or Nile perch and oilfish for red snapper and Atlantic cod. Not only does such seafood fraud make it impossible for chefs and consumers to choose eco-friendly fish, but it can be a risk to diners’ health (through allergens and undisclosed toxins) and can support illegal fishing operations.
To galvanize the U.S. government to set labeling and inspection standards, Oceana has launched a Stop Seafood Fraud campaign with a letter for chefs and restaurant owners to sign, asking for stricter seafood regulations. The letter was unveiled Monday, May 14, in Washington, DC, in an event featuring “The Office” star Angela Kinsey, a seafood advocate, and renowned sustainable seafood chef Barton Seaver.
Oceana reached out to Bon Appétit to ask for our support, and we’re proud that about a third of the names on Oceana’s list of 300 chefs and restaurant owners (PDF) are Bon Appétit Management Company ones, alongside such culinary leaders as Rick Bayless, Eric Ripert and Michael Symon. Continue…