(SNN) - For those who believe they are enjoying a firm but juicy filet of tuna in Canada, they should think again. A recent study has shown that between 59 and 87 percent of fish sold in Canada are improperly labeled and in some cases are species that are known to cause health issues.
Further, a DNA analysis of fish sold in the U.S., at restaurants and grocery stores, has shown that 33 percent are mislabelled, according to the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) at the University of Guelph.
This same organization conducted a study in 2011 of samples from five Canadian cities and found that 41 percent of fish sold was mislabelled.
It has been found that inferior farmed fish are often substituted for more expensive specimens; pangasius is often sold as grouper, sole as cod; tilapia as red snapper; and Atlantic farmed salmon as wild or king salmon. Of all the fish sold in Canada, the red snapper and tuna are the most frequently mislabelled species.
But what is even more disturbing is that in Canada if you are buying tuna, it may end up being escolar. Known loosely as white tuna, the escolar is really the snake mackerel, which is not only an inferior seafood, it is known to cause health issues in many people.
Escolar can cause keriorrhea, which is also known as gempylid fish poisoning. Keriorrhea is similar to diarrhea, only the body will expel a yellowish-orange oil instead of liquid bowel movements. Gempylid fish poisoning can cause other digestive issues, including stomach cramps, diarrhea, headaches, nausea, vomiting, and anal leakage.
So if you are buying tuna there are three questions you should be asking your grocer; is the fish wild or farmed; what country does it come from and how was it caught. If the vendor cannot answer these questions and really does not know the source, move on.
When you consider some species of fish should only be consumed in small amounts like the escolar, then it is important that the consumer be protected. In light of these recent discoveries, it has become clear that the fish industry needs to either police itself for the sake of industry confidence, or regulations should be tightened. Either way, it looks like it is chicken for dinner tonight.
Photo by: Sarah M Worthy's flickr photostream, Some Rights Reserved, The Sage nor this article endorsed.
DISCLAIMER: The above article is OPINION.The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the authors of The Sage Opinion and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the The Sage News Network or the official policies of the The Sage News.