Investigative pieces from Consumer Reports and the Boston Globe find that, in many places, the fish served are not what customers ordered
When I wrote What to Eat, a book devoted to discussion of food issues using supermarkets as an organizing device, I needed five chapters to discuss issues related to fish. By the time I was through, I considered the fish sections of supermarkets to be the Wild West of the food industry: anything goes and the buyer had best be wary.
Fish regulation, I pointed out, is divided among at least four federal agencies: USDA for marketing, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) for ocean fisheries, EPA for fish caught for sport and recreation, and FDA for fish safety. This alone should tell you that this is a virtually unregulated industry.
Now the Boston Globe presents the latest evidence for this dismal view. Investigative reporters examined fish served in Boston-area restaurants. Oops. They found widespread bait and switch. In many restaurants -- even good ones -- the fish served are not what customers think they paid for.
On the menu, but not on your plate: fish at restaurants were mislabeled about half the time, sometimes deliberately. The site takes some work to scroll through but is worth the effort. Here is one example:
At East Bay Grille in Plymouth, what was advertised as native scrod or haddock was actually previously frozen Pacific cod. A general manager said the restaurant hadn't yet updated the menu. The revised menu, however, still describes the fish as "fresh day boat scrod."