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Dublin: 12 °C Thursday 18 December, 2014

Shops could STILL be codding customers with mislabelled fish

Preliminary results have shown that white fish is being mislabelled as different species.

This guy was very shocked by the news.
This guy was very shocked by the news.
Image: fish via Shutterstock

THERE COULD BE something very fishy about that cod or hake you buy for your dinner tonight – and not in the way one would hope.

Preliminary results from an Irish study into labelling has found that some shops and restaurants might still be codding their customers by selling fish has been labelled as a different species.

Researchers with European-funded project Labelfish say this could result in both health risks and economic losses.

The project has tested fish sold in shops and restaurants using DNA technology, and, in some cases, white fish has been mislabelled.

This is due to similarity between the cuts once the fish has been filleted, and even more so if it has been processed or battered.

However, the scale of the issue is unknown.

The issue has been ongoing for several years in the Irish market.

A 2010 study sparked scandal after it was found that a quarter of fish labelled cod or haddock in Dublin was an entirely different species, with similar findings reported a year later by the FSAI.

A UCD study at the start of this year reported that the issue had been eradicated in shops, but not takeaways.

Labelfish are also working to develop standardised techniques ‘to control genetic traceability and labelling of fish’.

“One of the motivators for mislabelling fish is the financial gain from substituting a similar, yet cheaper, species for a more expensive one,” researchers said.

In particular it may contribute to the landing and sale of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fish from jurisdictions with less-stringent controls than those in place in Europe.

The €2 million project consists of partners from Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France.

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