There’s A Pretty Good Chance Your Salmon Isn’t What You Think It Is

When it comes to fish, you arent always getting what you ask for. And when you buy fresh salmon,you could be getting duped almost half the time.

Oceana, a nonprofit seafood conservation group, did a study back in 2015 and found that 43 percent of the salmonthey tested was actually mislabeled.

Most of that salmon fraud were talking 69 percent of it mislabeled farmed salmon as being wild-caught salmon, which is typically more revered. That means you could be paying for a wild-caught Pacific salmon filet, when in fact youre getting Atlantic farmed salmon.

Other fraud in the salmon market occurs when one type of wild salmon is substituted for another, like the cheaper chum salmon or pink salmon being sold as a more expensive salmon like coho or sockeye,Kimberly Warner, chief scientist at Oceana, told HuffPost.

Most of the fraud happens at restaurants.

Oceana found that most of the fraud from their study occurred at restaurants(67 percent vs. 20 percent at big chain retailers). Smaller grocery markets were also often guilty of salmon fraud. Big chain retailers are your safest bet for getting the salmon you actually want. But it isnt always restaurants or markets pulling a fast one on consumers.

Sometimes the restaurants and retailers are the victims.

What were dealing with is two different types of fraud, Gavin Gibbons of the National Fisheries Institute told HuffPost. One is species substitution, where the retailer or restaurant is the victim. Theyre being defrauded because the person selling them the salmon tells them its one thing when its not. The other side of it is menu mislabeling or just mislabeling in a retail establishment, and thats when they say its wild-caught salmon but they know its farmed salmon. So theres two distinctly different things, but theyre both fraud.

Just like withtuna fraud,in which sushi restaurants and certain retailers will sell escolar under the namewhite tuna, salmon fraud is upsetting. But being educated is your best bet to make sure you dont become a victim of salmon fraud.

Salmon is seasonal.

Just like with peaches and tomatoes, salmon has a season.

Salmon season runs from late spring to early fall.This is when the salmon are at their peak physical development, ready to make their trek from the ocean back upstream to reproduce.

And so naturally, that season is when the market is flooded with wild-caught salmon, and when less salmon fraud is likely to occur. In fact, in previous studies, Oceana had previously only found a 7 percent rate of salmon fraud, because they were testing the fish during peak salmon season, when wild-caught salmon is more plentiful.

But that doesnt mean that you cant find wild-caught salmon other times of the year. You absolutely can, because its flash frozen. However, that inventoryeventually gets depleted and because there are not a lot of supplies to rely on, they start advertising wild salmon even when it isnt, explained Warner.

You get what you pay for.

Just like with tuna, the best way to know youre actually getting wild-caught salmon is by the price tag.

Farmed salmon will be less expensive than its wild-caught cousin, explained Gibbons. And if it seems like the wild-caught option seems priced too good to be true, there is a possibility that it is mislabeled. That sounds really simple, but that is the reality.

Oceana also recommends asking lots of questions, because that will inform the retailer or restaurant that consumers do care about transparency with their seafood.

And if you want to start getting what you ask for, you should absolutely care about transparency.

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