This article was originally published on February 15, 2018.
When you go to the grocery store to buy food, you expect to know exactly what you’re getting. You don’t want to pay for turkey and get chicken instead.
Unfortunately, it seems that many Canadians are falling for what is being called "seafood fraud." This issue follows shortly after the discovery that many Canadians are eating genetically modified salmon without even knowing it.
"Seafood fraud" refers to the widespread issue of mislabelling seafood products across Canada.
Oceana Canada, which is a conservation group, tested food in cities across Canada and found that around 44 percent of the seafood was mislabelled.
To make things worse, 75 percent of all the cheap fish the group tested was labelled as something more expensive.
The group tested a total of 382 seafood products from 177 stores and restaurants in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.
DNA analysis of the seafood found that 168 of the samples tested did not meet the guidelines set out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Restaurants were more likely to have mislabeled seafood than retailers, a total of 52 percent of seafood from restaurants the group tested was mislabelled, with only 22 percent of samples from stores being wrong.
The testing was done by the group both in 2018 and 2017.
Mislabeling isn't just fraudulent, it could also cause people to become sick because they're eating something they shouldn't be, according to the group.
The group isn’t pointing the finger at the restaurants and retailers that sell the food, though. They claim that the company who sold the product to them to begin with are the real culprits.
There’s now calls for a guarantee to be added to packaging stating the seafood inside is actually what it claims to be.
“Putting a guarantee on species and origin is a crucial responsibility for not only the government but everyone in our industry,” says Chef Brad Long, Food Network host and owner of Café Belong in Toronto.
Oceana Canada has set up a petition you can sign calling for further action on the issue here.