Tests Reveal Nothing Fishy at The Big Carrot
To ensure the sustainable seafood we sell is accurately labelled we work with seafood suppliers to obtain information about the seafood sold in stores – including the species name, country of origin and how the seafood is caught.
This information is essential to assessing if 1) the seafood meets the Big Carrot’s commitment to selling sustainable seafood, and 2) that we apply the correct sustainability stickers and names on the packages. Nonetheless, seafood supply chains are often very long and complex, so there remains some risk that the information suppliers are able to provide may have become distorted as items move down the supply chain.
Seafood mislabelling is more common than you might think
Seafood mislabelling has shown to be widespread in North America, including Canada, with recent studies revealing that anywhere from 25 to 70 percent of all seafood products sold are mislabelled. Seafood mislabelling can have far reaching implications, related to human health and environmental sustainability, among others.
To confirm that all products sold at the Big Carrot are labelled correctly, and all products are truly sustainable, Big Carrot and SeaChoice carried out genetic testing of seafood products. The genetic testing was completed over a period of four weeks, and the majority of the Big Carrot’s seafood items were tested with a focus on items that are at high risk for product substitution.
Overall, the results were very positive
There were no cases of mislabelling. Indeed just one species of sole was shown to be a different species than specified in the supplier’s information. This was neither a health concern nor a sustainability concern though, as both species are sustainably caught. The fish was not mislabelled as Canadian labelling regulations allow both species to be called their market name of “sole”. The Big Carrot and SeaChoice have followed up with the supplier to ensure that this non-conformity has been fixed. Overall, we hope the results of the genetic testing leave our customers confident that we are taking the necessary steps to ensure our commitment to selling only sustainably caught seafood.
Interested in doing a little seafood sleuthing of your own?
SeaChoice is launching a project to put Lifescanner DNA testing kits in the hands of hundreds of Canadians to test seafood from their local stores. Visit http://www.lifescanner.net/SeaChoice for a chance at participating in this coast-to-coast survey with the aim of improving seafood labelling in Canada.