MN Food Safety Managers and Fish Labeling Fraud

According to a recent report out of New York state, fish labeling fraud is becoming fairly rampant, with many species of fish being substituted with cheaper, lower quality seafood. If this is such a widespread problem, how can MN food safety managers actually know if their seafood is actually what the supplier says it is?

Fish Labeling Fraud

Image credit: NOAA Photo Library

How to Avoid Becoming a Fish Labeling Fraud Victim

While this study concerned fish sold in New York state, we can assume that seafood sold in Minnesota at least has the potential of being mislabeled. Here’s a few ideas that we’ve come up with to help you avoid bringing in mislabeled fish:

  • Use reputable seafood suppliers rather than large restaurant supply services
  • Ask your supplier for a precise label that includes your seafood’s source
  • If you order wild fish, reject any shipment that is not labeled as wild caught
  • If a supplier’s cost is much lower than market price, be wary

Large food suppliers are great for basic items, but the seafood market is so specialized that it’s probably a good idea to find a supplier that specializes in seafood, especially ocean caught fish. With our state far away from both oceans, food safety managers should put their trust in companies with seafood shipping experience to ensure freshness, quality and authenticity.

Most seafood, especially wild caught species such as salmon, should be labeled accordingly. Look out for generic labels on fish species such as salmon, cod or snapper. These three species of fish are susceptible to labeling fraud, especially if you are expecting wild caught or a specific variety of these popular seafood items. Ask your supplier for an accurate and specific label that includes a harvest location.

Finally, be wary of deals that look too good to be true, because they probably are. It’s not uncommon for more disreputable suppliers to mask a cheap, low quality fish as a desirable product and advertise an unbelievable price. Once cleaned and fileted, a generic white fish may resemble cod, but your customers will taste the difference.

Do you take steps to make sure that you’re receiving the seafood that you actually ordered?

For over 20 years Safe Food Training has been known as the # 1 provider of food manager certification in Minnesota. We offer both instructor lead and on-line food safety certification courses. Our instructor lead courses are regularly scheduled at several central Minnesota locations. If you have special training requirements, we can even customize ServSafe training for your group. Which ever option is best for you, we would be happy to serve your needs.

Leave a Reply