You may have seen Kim Severson’s latest NYT article on mislabeled fish prompted by the recent Oceana report, Widespread Seafood Fraud Found in New York City. The former is the more entertaining read, if you haven’t.
According to the report, 39 percent of the 142 seafood samples tested in New York City were mislabeled This may seem alarming, but it’s not actually that surprising. It’s still less than the 42% from Boston, or the much more problematic 55% around LA.
So why is this happening? A number of reasons, but most notably greed (over-fishing, deliberate mislabeling) and buyer/consumer ignorance.
This is why you find wholesalers you trust, ask about an establishment’s sourcing, and avoid those roll-factories calling themselves sushi restaurants. Most importantly, this is why you should educate yourself… or risk shitting your pants. I’ll explain.One of the examples given in the article was the mislabeling of 3 of my favorite fish as White Tuna. White Tuna or Shiro Maguro generally refers to Albacore. However, it’s often used as an umbrella term for anything Albacore/Ono (Wahoo)/Escolar
but Albacore (left) vs. Escolar (right) that’s easy photo credit. If you can’t discern between the two, you deserve every bit of what may come.
“To be frankly and bluntly specific – and I’m sorry for this – consumption of escolar causes explosive, oily, orange diarrhea.” -The Kitchen
Now before you swear off the deliciousness of Escolar entirely, realize this generally only happens when eaten to excess. The fish can’t metabolize certain wax esters found in their diet, and guess who that GI distress is passed on to? This guy.
Yes, it has happened to me. Yes, I still risk it. Yes it’s that good…just try to stay under 6oz.
Buyer beware, or rather, informed.