Scanning down the offerings at many restaurants, lobster is usually one of the most expensive items on the menu. However, a new report from Inside Edition, consumers may not be getting what they pay for.
In an investigation of 28 restaurants across the country, including Red Lobster, 35 percent of the food purported as lobster was actually cheaper substitute fish, like whiting and pollock. It wasn’t just big chains that are accused of being dishonest - some independent restaurants also faced similar allegations. The owner of “Get Hooked,” a restaurant near Tampa, said he did “... not purposely rip off the public” when he served lobster rolls with fish mixed in.
Red Lobster was accused of offering lobster bisque that contained langostino, which more closely resembles prawn. Though Eater reported Red Lobster has been up front about its use of langostino, the FDA said that soup containing langostino must be called langostino lobster bisque.
"As a seafood expert, Red Lobster understands that the seasonality and availability of lobster can fluctuate, so our Lobster Bisque can contain meat from Maine lobster, langostino lobster, or, in some cases, a combination of both,” Red Lobster said in a statement, adding it was ‘unlucky’ that one of the three lobster bisques tested by Inside Edition only contained langostino.
The fraudulent fish could be a reaction to the high price of lobster. Since lobster is best cooked when live and difficult to process, most lobster must be caught live, which helps keep the price up, Business Insider reported.