We’ve All Been Eating The Wrong Kind Of Fish, Lots of Mercury


Have you been buying fish because you thought it was a healthy, environmentally friendly dietary option for you and/or your family? Don’t you know that everyone is destined to end up in the ground, anyway, and all of these mild stop-gaps are futile?

It may even happen sooner than we expected, since it turns out companies have been rampantly mislabeling their fish, usually to give you the kind that involves more mercury and dangerous over-fishing. “There are a lot of flummoxed people out there who are trying to buy fish carefully and trying to shop their conscience, but they can’t if this kind of fraud is happening,” said one of the Oceana scientists behind a new study that DNA tested fish in restaurants and at grocery stores throughout New York.

Among a sampling that mostly focused on Manhattan restaurants, every single sushi restaurant surveyed was found guilty of mislabeling, and for a while now the FDA has been looking into ways to limit so-called “seafood fraud.”

Unsurprisingly, mislabeling skewed toward companies selling shittier varieties of fish (tilapia, mercury-laden tilefish) in place of fancier fish (red snapper), and not so much the other way around. A full thirty-nine percent of samples taken city-wide were mislabeled, and ninety-four percent of fish that was being marketed as white tuna was actually mackerel or escolar, which the Times notes “can cause severe diarrhea if more than a few ounces of meat are ingested.”

So, that’s gross and terrifying, and further proof that global capitalism has wrought some terrible things upon us, the consumers, who have no agency over anything we do at all on this earth. Or at least that deli sushi isn’t as great a lunch fallback option as it once seemed.

Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.


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