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Dec 7, 2009 08:36 AM

basa labelled as sole

The Star had a story on fish mislabeling a while ago. One of the most common is tilapia sold as snapper (I'd been seeing this one at cheap sushi joints long before The Star story).

Another one that they came across, but I'd never seen until this weekend, is basa sold as sole.

Looking at it before buying it I couldn't help thinking "that's very weird looking dover sole" but at $5.99lb and at a major store I figured okay I'll buy it since it's going in stew and basically all I want is the least expensive fish in the store.

So when I was getting ready to put the fish in the stew I had a good quick feel and inspection:

1) veiny, sort of cartiliginous feel/look
2) reddish streaking and slight brownish tint to the meat
3) division of muscle/meat sections (don't know a better way to call it - the individual fillet parts?) not similar to sole
4) too thick/meaty
5) doesn't smell like sole

After cooking I knew for certain it is not sole by the taste, texture and appearance - the texture and way the fish separates is nothing like sole, the taste is something like catfish and appearance is again slightly brownish and thick/meaty.

This is only one consumer's experience, but if I've encountered fish mislabeling at one of the more major stores then others probably have too.

Buyer be warned - if it doesn't look like top grade tuna trust your instinct it isn't. If it doesn't look like sole it isn't. If it doesn't look like real red snapper it isn't, etc. etc.

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  1. Sadly, this is nothing new. Its only recently that awareness has been heightened with respect to the mislabeling and/or misidentification of fish sold in restaurants, supermarkets and even with individual mongers. Scientists have been screaming about this for decades. Then again, scientists try to warn people about a lot of things that usually fall on deaf ears. Sometimes I wonder if people even know what they are eating-and this isn't necessarily their fault.

    Worldwide stocks are rapidly depleting-for almost everything. Its a chain effect. The only fish I don't question are the ones I catch myself. We cannot continue to delude ourselves any longer.


    1. herbs, please report your experience to the state consumer agency and/or the state corporation commission. mislabeling is a form of fraud, and should be investigated and prosecuted as such. your complaint may be the trigger, from cumulative complaints, or yours may be the first. in any event, the seller should not get away with fraud. also, did you question the seller before buying it?

      1 Reply
      1. re: alkapal

        did you question the seller before buying it?
        this incident could really be an employee making a mistake, rather than deception on the part of the store. The store receives a delivery and the item is mismarked by the distributor. If the store employee is simply an hourly worker, he simply may not have known any better. If you are a frequent buyer of Sole or Basa, I really do not see how you could confuse the two. When in doubt.....questions should be asked.....but should anyone suspect foul suggestion is to find another market to purhcase your sea foods.

        To the OP, you should have raised concerns with the seafood manager or store manager in my opinion. Personally, I would not believe any fish labeled as Dover Sole priced @ $5.99/lb ever to be real Dover Sole

      2. Just thought I would revive this thread with a link to the International Barcode of Life project. Crazy canucks at the University of Guelph-keep kicking some serious bio butt! Keep fighting the good war!