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Mislabled fish

According to the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/27/sci... Tests Reveal Mislabeling of Fish

Something to watch out for.

I don't see how they could mislabel salmon, trout, flounder or bluefish. And mako shark fillet being passed off as swordfish doesn't really affect anyone reading this board. But catfish passing as grouper does. And it says they're selling some other species as cod.

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  1. except for Salmon , which has a unique color, I can very easily see how fish could be mislabeled.

    6 Replies
    1. re: berel

      That salmon color is often somewhat artificial these days, a fact that is frequently exploited to pass off farmed salmon as more costly wild salmon.

      "Dietary supplements and/or artificial dyes now closely match the color of aquaculture salmon to meet consumer expectations. Yet the large difference in price tempts many to sell farmed salmon as 'wild-caught' (Rasmussen and Morrissey 2009) as often as 56 percent of the time, as found in a study by Consumer Reports (2006)."
      (from Oceana report mentioned in the NYT article - pdf link in the article)

      1. re: racer x

        All salmon color is a function of diet, even for "wild" salmon. As I mentioned on another board a couple of days ago we buy "color enhancing" feed for our pond goldfish. It's a nature-derived colorant, much like the feed that makes some chicken egg yolks a vivid yellow/orange.

        1. re: racer x

          even with the "artificiality", salmon is the only fish that will pick up that color.

          I'm not commenting on the healthiness of the salmon, only the kashruth question of buying salmon without seeing the simonim

          1. re: berel

            Rainbow trout picks up that color.

              1. re: berel

                And Arctic char. But they (trout, char) are all in the Linnean family Salmonidae.

      2. Icelandic wolf fish is a relatively new (and plentiful) cod substitute. It is not Kosher.

          1. i have sensitivity to a lot of fish. cod is one i can eat. it is a shame food sellers don't take more responsibility or care.

            1. This has been going on forever. Back about 1980, The Age did an expose, finding that 50% of fish sellers in Melbourne substitute fish. More barramundi was sold in Victoria alone than the entire national catch. There was no government inspection. Other than honesty, there's no reason why a fishmonger *wouldn't* do this.

              Which is why the halacha is that one may not buy fish without some scales on it, so one can tell that it's a kosher fish. The only exception is if the flesh is unmistakably that of a kosher fish, e.g. the pink flesh of salmon/rainbow trout/etc.

              1 Reply
              1. re: zsero

                Totally correct Zsero, some Kosher agencies, like the STAR-K, do not even allow their clients (ie, restaurants, caterers, Chowhound requires that I mention here that I am one) to use fish that come from many labled, kosher vendors (OU for instance) without their skins....especially many of the frozen products coming out of the far east.....Same as extra virgin olive oils, there is a lot of hanky panky in the fish biz

              2. can anyone provide a link for me to learn what constitutes a Kosher fish? I'm just an interested bystander, but I find these rules utterly fascinating. (I do know no shellfish, but beyond that I thought it was mostly the handling) the Kashrut article does help.

                3 Replies
                1. re: hill food

                  Kosher fish needs to have fins and scales (hence the need to see the fish).

                  1. re: hill food

                    A kosher fish must have scales that come off easily by hand, without tearing the skin. This is easily determined, so long as there's a tag of skin attached to the fish, with some scales embedded in it. If you can remove the scales without a tool, and without tearing the skin, then the fish is kosher.

                    1. re: zsero

                      Thanks to t and z, I love it when I learn something new. (plenty of non-observant family and friends so it's of no use asking them, but always good to know)

                  2. Fascinating that the Times article specifically cites the need to see fins and scales to identify the species of fish. All this time, the kashrut agencies told us to be sure we see the skin or buy a whole fish. They were not being overly pious; they knew exactly what they were saying.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mrogovin

                      either see it or buy it from Kosher supervised fish monger