June 26 | 2018
There is something fishy about fish labelling.
CTV has been working on a news series called Something Fishy and is about mislabeling and fraud in our industry. According to CTV, 40% of fish samples bought in several places in the Vancouver area failed DNA testing. They only checked for the fish specie DNA, not other factors that may have been wrong such as catch method, origin, etc.
This is not news to us in the industry, we see and hear about it all the time. It’s troubling though as the consumers loose faith in the industry at times when the consumers are demanding us to be like an open book and fully transparent. It’s completely understandable. We wouldn’t be happy if we went to a pricey steak house and ordered a fillet minion and were served chicken.
But its not all intentional, the regulatory system doesn’t help. CFIA maintains the Fish list which contains the accepted names for fish in Canada, both in English and French. The same accepted name can be on two or more species. Lemon sole is a popular fish on the West Coast. The fish Lemon Sole, or Pseudopleuronectes americanus as its Scientific name is, has a distant relative, called Microstomus kitt. A popular fish in Europe and on the East Cost of North America. That fish is known there as Lemon sole. Same name, two different species. According to the CFIA fish list, the Microstomus Kitt has three accepted English names: Sole, Lemon sole and Flounder. However, its cousin, the West Coast Lemon Sole has even more accepted English names, a total of six: Sole, Lemon Sole, Flounder, Winter Flounder, Blackback Flounder and Blackback. You probably noticed that the East Coast Lemon sole is sharing all its English names with the West Cost Lemon Sole. This is far from being the only example.
We at Salties take our role as being a transparent and honest Seafood purveyor to the extreme. Every delivery slip we send out has info about what boat caught the fish and harbor of landing. The shipping boxes have labels that shows in what waters it was caught, what day it was packed, fishing method, the scientific name of the product, the packer, and its Canadian English Common name. All the information is backed up by a government issued certification from the Icelandic government.
It is our strong belief that being open and honest about the Chain of Custody is not only important to the consumer, it is important to each and every one of us that is a link in the chain. For our retail customers and our restaurant customers, it is becoming one of the main sales tools, now you can tell the story of the product. Who doesn’t want to show their customers a picture of the boat that caught their fish, the crew, and knowing it came from a truly sustainable source?