08/28/2018 09:41 EDT | Updated 08/28/2018 11:44 EDT

Seafood Fraud In Canada: Study Finds Nearly Half Of Sampled Products Mislabelled

Butterfish, snapper and yellowtail were mislabelled 100 per cent of the time.

The Canadian Press
A seafood counter is shown at a store in Toronto, Thurs. May 3, 2018. A new study suggests nearly half of seafood sold in Canadian grocery stores and restaurants is mislabeled.

A new study found nearly half of seafood samples it tested in Canadian grocery stores and restaurants were mislabelled.

The report conducted by advocacy group Oceana Canada found 44 per cent of 382 seafood samples tested from five Canadian cities did not meet the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's labelling requirements.

Oceana Canada sent the samples it collected to a Guelph, Ont.-based lab that used DNA barcoding to determine the species of fish. That was compared to the CFIA's Fish List, which contains acceptable market names for various fish species.

The samples were mislabelled in restaurants 52 per cent of the time and 22 per cent of the time at retailers, including grocery stores and other markets.

Oceana Canada wants the federal government to increase labelling requirements to match those in the European Union.

The CFIA, which is responsible for mitigating food safety risks and monitors food fraud in the country, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier on HuffPost Canada:

The investigation found butterfish, snapper and yellowtail were mislabelled 100 per cent of the time.

Often what consumers are told is butterfish or white tuna turned out to be escolar, which is called the laxative of the sea because it can cause stomach issues like diarrhoea and vomiting.

Seafood is susceptible to food fraud because of a complicated global supply chain that allows for accidental or deliberate mislabelling at many stages from the fishing boat to the restaurant or store.