Senate Introduces Bill to Fight Seafood Fraud After Oceana Study
Press Release Date: March 12, 2013
Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, commends United States Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) for introducing the Safety and Fraud Enforcement for Seafood (SAFE Seafood) Act. Sen. Begich introduced the bill late-yesterday during the International Boston Seafood Show, the largest seafood trade exposition in North America, and it is a companion to the SAFE Act recently introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA). If passed, the bill would fight the growing problem of seafood fraud by ensuring that seafood sold in the U.S. is tracked from boat to plate, while providing more information to consumers at the point of purchase.
The introduction follows the release of a new study by Oceana, which found that one-third, or 33 percent, of the 1,215 fish samples it collected from 674 retail outlets in 21 states were mislabeled, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. Oceana campaign director Beth Lowell released the following statement of support for the new legislation:
“Every U.S. consumer deserves to know that their seafood is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled. When seafood fraud occurs, however, it not only hurts consumers’ wallets, but also every responsible fisherman and seafood business in the supply chain that plays by the rules.
Seafood fraud presents clear economic, public health and conservation dangers, and unfortunately, we have found it everywhere we’ve tested. By tracking our seafood from the time it’s caught to a consumer’s dinner plate, we can ensure Americans are actually getting what they pay for.
We applaud Sen. Begich for taking a stand against this national, widespread problem. By introducing these bills, Rep. Markey and Sen. Begich have shown they believe stopping seafood fraud should be a national priority. Oceana is now calling on Congress to pass these bills.”
To access Oceana’s national seafood study, please visit www.oceana.org/fraudnationwide.