The Beacon

National Aquarium Gives a Fresh Approach to Combating Seafood Fraud

Asian catfish hiding in your grouper sandwich. Escolar sold in your “white tuna” sushi roll. By now, most consumers know they can’t always trust what’s on their dinner plate, especially when it comes to seafood. But how often do you actually get to test your own knowledge of what you’re eating? Now is your chance to do just that, as Oceana teams up with the National Aquarium in Washington, D.C. for an interactive fine-dining experience as part of their Fresh Thoughts Dining Series.

In February, Oceana revealed that one-third of the 1,215 fish samples we tested from across the country were mislabeled according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Guidelines. This rampant bait and switch occurred when the desired fish was swapped for less expensive or more readily-available species in restaurants, sushi bars and grocery stores across the country, hurting consumers when they were duped into paying for inferior fish at higher prices. Seafood fraud can happen anywhere along the complex seafood supply chain that your dinner travels from the boat to your plate.

Oceana is co-sponsoring a dinner with the National Aquarium this Wednesday, June 19, which will allow guests to put their own taste buds to the test. The dinner courses will pair commonly swapped species side-by-side and ask guests to identify the fish on their plate, begging the question, “Do you know what you’re really eating?” This dinner will give guests the opportunity to learn more about seafood fraud from a multitude of perspectives, including Chef Xavier Deshayes’ from the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, as well as National Aquarium and Oceana experts’. Starting a discussion where it matters most, the dinner table, allows consumers to see how seafood fraud may affect them. Every consumer deserves safe, legally caught and honestly labeled seafood.   

If you want to join the dinner, tickets to Fresh Thoughts can be purchased through the National Aquarium’s website, www.aqua.org, or by calling them directly at 202-789-2782. Tickets are $79 for National Aquarium’s members and $89 for non-members. The event will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Beth Lowell is a campaign director at Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. To learn more please visit www.oceana.org/fraudnationwide.

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