Although there is a great effort at the international level to ensure safe and sustainable food consumption, there is still a problem of incorrect labeling of fish products . A new study carried out by scientists from the University of Oviedo has shown this “intentional fraud” in fish such as hake or tuna.
The results of the investigation, which has been published in ‘Scientific Report ‘, reveal that the incorrect labeling found was probably fraudulent , since “its risk was significantly higher in expensive species than in cheap ones and in non-recognizable products” , the authors note in the study. Likewise, this problem mainly affected “the species most appreciated by the consumer and, among them, those with the highest price.”
In which fish have they detected a fraud?
To carry out the study, the experts analyzed a total of 401 samples of highly consumed fish at a European and global level: tuna, anchovy, hake and blue whiting . Their analysis was carried out by PCR amplification and sequencing of a set of DNA markers.
Another conclusion is that ” the use of endangered species, juvenile tuna for anchovies , and hake not yet regulated as substitutes, points to illegal, unreported and / or unregulated fishing in African waters,” they add.
Thus, the team of scientists detected an incorrect labeling that indicated the species of fish that was not in seven samples, which represents 1.9% of the total. In detail, 0% in the case of blue whiting, 2.4% in anchovy, 4.17% in hake and 5.2% in tuna.
The results reveal the practice of illegal fishing
Although these percentages may seem small, it is true that they reveal the use of endangered species and illegal fishing. In fact, five of the 11 incorrectly labeled products were caught off the African coast, while four of them were found in European waters and two did not have geographic information on their label.
All this points to illegal fishing in the waters of the African continent. “Special attention should be paid to detecting deliberate fraud. Surrogates found are an indication that IUU fishing is a source of fraud,” they say. Therefore, experts demand ” a focus on products especially susceptible to these actions “, that is, fish that are expensive or widely consumed by the population.