retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Los Angeles Times reports that advocacy group Oceana has found that DNA tests of seafood from 74 retail outlets in LA - including sushi bars, other restaurants, and grocery stores - revealed that “55% of 119 fish samples from across L.A. were misidentified,” and that “red snapper, Dover sole, white tuna and other fish were often different species.”

This was, in fact, the latest and worst in a series of studies of seafood mislabeling. According to the story, “Consumer Reports found that 18% of seafood samples its researchers collected from retail stores and restaurants on the East Coast last year was mislabeled. A 2011 investigation by the Boston Globe reported that 48% of the fish it collected from Boston restaurants, grocery stores and seafood markets was sold with the wrong species name.”

While Oceans focused on frequency rather than the source of mislabeling, its spokesperson emphasized that “fraud can occur at any point in the supply chain, beginning when the fish is landed and through to processing, distribution and final point of sale.”
KC's View:
This does not surprise me, and I have no reason to doubt these findings. Everybody will say that the fraud is taking place elsewhere in the supply chain, but there’s probably a little bit of misidentification taking place everywhere.

The real lesson of this story is that technology makes it possible to identify the fraud, and communicate it instantly to shoppers. Forget morality. A simple reality check should tell the perpetrators that to continue such practices is to undermine the industry, to put short-term gain in front of long-term growth and credibility.