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Testing fish DNA

(article, Culinate staff)

You may remember the stories about teenage science students and the Boston Globe busting local vendors and restaurants for mislabeling their fish. But did you know that Oceana, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting the world's oceans, is trying to do the same thing nationwide?

As the San Francisco Chronicle recently reported, Oceana is testing the DNA of fish samples to detect fraud — to see if a fish was "actually what the menu said it was and determine if, as advertised, the seafood was really wild and local or if it was shipped from a fish farm."

So far, the results aren't promising: "In South Florida . . . results showed that 31 percent of the fish tested at restaurants and markets was mislabeled. In Los Angeles, 55 percent, and in Boston, 48 percent of the fish sold was not what it was touted to be. . . . Oceana found that 87 percent of the sushi venues tested misrepresented the fish being served, the worst record of any type of restaurant. Thirty-one percent of grocery stores misidentified fish."