One study made a terrifying discovery recently as it found that nearly 84 percent of fish sold as “white tuna” is actually escolar, which is known to cause serious intestinal problems.
Oceana, an ocean conservation group, sampled DNA from 1,215 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states over a period of two years.
The results from their research were released Thursday, and revealed that 33 percent of all samples were mislabled.
They also found that 27 of the 46 seafood types were mislabeled, and 59 percent of fish sold as “tuna” in American restaurants and grocery stores is not tuna.
Snapper was the only fish that beat tuna in mislabeling, as it was sold as one of six different species 87 percent of the time.
The most disturbing finding, however, was that 84 percent of “white tuna” is escolar, a snake mackerel that tastes similar to tuna but produces unpleasant side effects.
Escolar’s mixture of fatty acids and fatty alcohol can result in prolonged, oily, anal leakage in humans when eaten in quantities surpassing six ounces.
The fish is banned in Japan and Italy, and requires warning labels in Canada, Sweden, and Denmark.
Overall, seafood was mislabeled 18 percent of the time in grocery stores, 38 percent of the time in restaurants, and 74 percent of the time in sushi venues.
In Chicago, Austin, New York and Washington, DC, all sushi restaurants sold mislabeled tuna.
The number of mislabeled fish is likely due to the fact that 90 percent of seafood in the US is imported, but only 1 percent of it is inspected by the government for fraud.
Oceana wants a system to be implemented to ensure fish are tracked “from boat to plate” at a national level.