More than half of seafood shoppers are still worried about food fraud, the Marine Stewardship Council has warned.
In the wake of Horsegate and recent fish fraud scandals, an MSC survey of 16,000 consumers in 21 countries found 55% doubted the seafood they were buying was always what it said on the pack.
European studies have previously warned as much as 40% of seafood on sale in EU supermarkets and fishmongers could be mislabelled, and a recent scientific review published in the April 2016 edition of the Food Control Journal put the average mislabelling rate for seafood internationally at 30%.
“High-profile cases of food fraud, such as horsemeat found in beef burgers, has left shoppers wary of the claims made on food packaging,” said Toby Middleton, programme director for MSC in the UK & North Atlantic.
“Seafood is particularly vulnerable to food fraud, because it can be hard to tell the difference between similar-looking species, and fish is often handled and processed by several suppliers on the journey from ocean to plate.”
The MSC today published its latest round of independent testing, which confirmed 99.6% of MSC-certified seafood is correctly labelled.
DNA tests on a sample of 257 MSC-labelled seafood products from 16 countries found just one was mislabelled - a packet of northern rock sole that was packaged as southern rock sole.
“These test results should give consumers confidence that MSC-labelled seafood is traceable from ocean to plate, so they can trust what it says on the packet, and they can trust that their purchase is ensuring healthy fish stocks for the future,” said Tracy Cambridge, fisheries and seafood Manager at WWF-UK.