retail news in context, analysis with attitude

USA Today writes this morning that Consumer Reports is about to “ reveal a mislabeled seafood scam that leaves millions of consumers clueless whether the fish they think they're buying is the fish they're actually getting.

“The world's largest independent product-testing organization Friday will reveal that 22% of the seafood it tested at supermarkets, restaurants, fish markets, gourmet stores and big-box stores in three states was either mislabeled, incompletely labeled or misidentified by store or restaurant employees.”

According to the story, “The investigation, which took place in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, included 190 pieces of fresh and frozen seafood that were DNA tested by two outside labs.” Among the findings: “Not one of the 10 lemon soles tested was lemon sole — but more common and cheaper flounder. And of 22 red snapper samples, not one was definitively red snapper, though eight couldn't be ruled out.” In addition, “some 18% of the samples didn't match the names on placards, labels or menus. Another 4% were incompletely labeled or misidentified.”

The story also says that “only four of the 14 different types of fish purchased — Chilean sea bass, coho salmon and bluefin and ahi tuna — were always identified correctly.”
KC's View:
Okay, so the story also says that Consumer Reports could not determine - or does not speculate about - whether this was fraud or just incompetence.

But either way, this ain’t good. In fact, I’m not sure which would be worse.

And it follows up on a Boston Globe story earlier this week that found much the same thing in Beantown.

It all adds up to a system that consumers are not going to have confidence in ... and that needs to move quickly to fix the problems and get things right. ASAP.