Fish and chip shops could be serving the wrong species of fish to customers, according to the results of DNA tests released today.
Outlets without a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certificate are five times more likely to be serving the wrong species. Regular MSC authentication tests revealed non-certified shops to be mislabelling fish at a rate of 9%, compared with just 1.64% in shops with an MSC.
George Clark, MSC senior commercial manager for the UK, said: “British consumers are more savvy than ever when it comes to food provenance. They want to know exactly what is in their food and where it comes from – especially when they’re choosing fish specifically for its environmental credentials.
“The DNA results are clear, your Friday night takeaway is far more likely to be the fish you think you’ve bought if it’s MSC labelled. It’ll also be sustainable, responsibly caught and fully traceable.”
However, the results indicate an improvement in mislabelling in the industry. In 2014, the consumer organisation Which? conducted a study of fish and chip shops in conjunction with the Institute of Global Food Security (IGFS), Queen’s University Belfast. Their Stop Food Fraud campaign found that one in six (16%) fish were mislabelled.
The MSC tests also show that British chippies are ahead of the global seafood mislabelling rate of 30%.
Professor Chris Elliott, founder of the IGFS, added: “It’s reassuring that the level of fish mislabelling in the UK is much lower than other reported regions in the world. However, the fact that the MSC-certified shops performed so much better is a clear indication of the importance of the programme.”
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