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Study: 33 Percent Of Seafood Sold Nationwide Is Mislabeled

FILE - Seafood on sale at a market in Chinatown.

FILE – Seafood on sale at a market in Chinatown.

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – About one-third of all fish sold at supermarkets and restaurants nationwide is mislabeled, according to a new study by the environmental group Oceana.

The study released Thursday found that 33 percent of more than 1,200 samples of fish was mislabeled. The samples were taken from 674 retail stores in 21 states between 2010 and 2012.

One of the worst areas was in New York City. Of the 142 fish samples taken, 39 percent was labeled incorrectly, according to the study.

When it comes to tuna fraud, New York City leads the nation. The study found that 94 percent of all tuna that was tested was labeled as something else.

The second most mislabeled fish in New York City was snapper, which can be dangerous.

“We found tilefish, which is on the FDA’s ‘Do Not Eat List’ because of its high mercury content for women of child-bearing age and children, was found in New York City sold as both red snapper and Alaskan halibut,” Oceana Campaign Director Beth Lowell told 1010 WINS.

Oceana had released its results for New York City in December, but said despite coverage in the press, mislabeled fish continues to be a problem.

“It’s not allowed to mislabel seafood sold in the U.S. and we want to, at Oceana, want to require to track the fish from boat to plate,” Lowell said.

Oceana said you are most likely to be deceived at sushi bars, but most likely to get the real thing at supermarkets.

So how can you protect yourself when buying seafood? Lowell said it’s good to ask questions.

“If the person you’re buying the fish from doesn’t have the answers, then you may want to buy something else. Also, if the price is too good to be true, you might want to avoid that one as well,” she said. “Finally, purchase the whole fish or as close to the whole fish as you can. The more hands your fish passed through on the way to your plate, the more opportunity for seafood fraud.”

For more information on the study, click here.

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