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That Fish You're Eating Isn't What You Think it Is

And what you think it isn't could make your shorts explode.
Austin Considine
Κείμενο Austin Considine

Turns out that tuna you're about to shove in your piehole might not be tuna at all. In fact, odds are it isn’t, and that a lot of other "fish" are just as phony.

This latest disturbing food news emerged a few days ago in a study by Oceana, an international ocean-conservation group. Having collected more than 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retailers in 21 states, the group determined through DNA testing that 33 percent of the seafood was mislabeled.


Worst of all were snapper and tuna. A staggering 87 percent of fish sold as snapper had been mislabeled—For red snapper, only seven out of the 120 samples taken were actually red snapper. According to the report, the other 113 could have been any number of fish, including giltheaded seabream, tilapia, and white bass.

Tuna didn't fare much better. Fifty-nine percent of fish labeled tuna—whether in a can, at a sushi restaurant, or at a fish market—wasn’t tuna. The most common substitution was an oily fish called escolar, aka, “butterfish,” “oilfish,” or “king tuna.” In fact, 84 percent of all fish sold as “white tuna” was escolar, which, as the full report notes, can result in serious digestive problems whenever someone eats more than a few ounces. The fish is banned in Japan and Italy.

What kind of digestive problems? How about, as one food blog recently put it, “explosive, oily, orange diarrhea”?

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