June 18, 2018 6:49 pm
Updated: June 19, 2018 12:16 am

Nearly one-quarter of fish and seafood sold in Metro Vancouver mislabelled: UBC study

A new UBC report indicates that a quarter of all seafood is mislabelled, leaving consumers unsure of what is really on their plate. Linda Aylesworth has more.


A new study from the University of British Columbia found that nearly one quarter of fish and seafood sold in Metro Vancouver is incorrectly labelled.

Researchers from UBC’s Lu Food Safety & Health Engineering Lab collected 281 samples of fish and other seafood from restaurants and grocery stores in the region, and subjected them to DNA testing.

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It found 70 of the 281 samples, or just under 25 per cent, were mislabelled.

The most commonly mislabelled fish was snapper, with 31 of 34 samples incorrectly identified. Fish sold as snapper or red snapper, the study said, is often a cheaper fish such as tilapia.

Researchers say the supply chain for fish is complicated with plenty of room for error. Fish can be caught in one country and sent to others for processing with each step creating the opportunity for a product to be intentionally or unintentionally mislabelled.

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The study’s lead author, PhD candidate Yaxi Hu, said researchers would like see more information on store labels, including the scientific names of the fish and where the product was caught.

Last year, a federally-funded study found that 20 per cent of sausages sampled from grocery stores across Canada contained meats that weren’t on the label.

  • With files from The Canadian Press
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