Actress and ocean activist Angela Kinsey will visit Washington, D.C. May 14 to urge Congress to pass legislation to stop seafood fraud, which hurts our oceans, our wallets and our health. Kinsey, who is best known for her role as the feisty, tightly-wound head of accounting “Angela Martin” at Dunder Mifflin on NBC’s Emmy winning show “The Office,” will be joined by sustainable chef and author Barton Seaver and Oceana campaign director Beth Lowell. Among their stops will include a briefing on Capitol Hill and a reception at National Aquarium.
In May of 2011, Oceana launched a new campaign to stop seafood fraud, which can come in many different forms – from mislabeling fish and falsifying documents to adding too much ice to packaging. Since then, Oceana has found mislabeling of nearly one in five fish fillets sampled in Boston-area supermarkets, as well as the mislabeling of more than half (55 percent) of the seafood sampled in the Los Angeles-area. Oceana is calling on the federal government to make combating seafood fraud a priority as well as for traceability of seafood sold in the United States.
WHO: Angela Kinsey, actress and ocean activist
Barton Seaver, chef, author and National Geographic fellow
Beth Lowell, Oceana campaign director
WHEN: Monday, May 14, 2012
Capitol Hill Briefing
11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
United States Capitol Visitor Center
Congressional Meeting Room South
East Capitol St. & First St., NE
Washington, DC 20515
National Aquarium Reception
6 to 8:30 p.m.
14th St. and Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20230
About Seafood Fraud:
In a recent report titled Bait and Switch: How Seafood Fraud Hurts Our Oceans, Our Wallets and Our Health, Oceana found that while 84 percent of the seafood eaten in the United States is imported, only two percent is currently inspected and less than 0.001 percent specifically for fraud. In fact, recent studies have found seafood may be mislabeled as often as 25 to 70 percent of the time for fish like red snapper, wild salmon and Atlantic cod, disguising species that are less desirable, cheaper or more readily available.
Despite growing concern about where our food comes from, consumers are frequently served the wrong fish – a completely different species than the one they paid for. With about 1,700 different species of seafood from all over the world now available in the U.S., it is unrealistic to expect consumers to be able to independently and accurately determine what fish is really being served.
Our seafood is following an increasingly complex path from fishing vessel to processor to distributor and ultimately our plates. Seafood safety is handled by a patchwork of laws with no federal agency definitively in charge of addressing seafood fraud. Little coordination or information sharing exists within the U.S. government and many of these laws are not being fully implemented.
Oceana is calling on the federal government to make combating seafood fraud a priority, including implementing existing laws, increasing inspections and improving coordination and information sharing among federal agencies. Oceana is also working to ensure that the seafood sold in the U.S. is safe, legal and honestly labeled, including requiring a traceability system where information such as when, where and how a fish is caught follows it throughout the supply chain – from boat to plate – allowing consumers to make more informed decisions about the food they eat while keeping illegal fish out of the U.S. market.
For more information about seafood fraud and Oceana’s new campaign, please visit www.oceana.org/fraud.