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Bad News for Sushi Lovers

Written By Scott Joseph On January 16, 2017

SushiCafe sushi

Well, we just don’t have a lot of good news for sushi lovers today.

Researchers at UCLA and Loyola Marymount University have concluded that diners in Los Angeles area sushi bars have about a 50/50 chance of getting the fish they actually ordered. Over a period of four years, researchers tested the DNA of 364 fish collected from 26 sushi restaurants with the highest Yelp and Zagat ratings. Forty-seven percent were deemed to be mislabeled.

For example, sushi patrons ordering yellowfin tuna were served something other than yellowfin tuna seven out of nine times. But those odds were better than for halibut and red snapper. Out of 43 orders of halibut and 32 orders of red snapper, tests showed that some other fish was substituted every time.

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While fish fraud is nothing new — and certainly not confined to the Los Angeles area — the study made no conclusion as to where the fraud was occurring in the food chain. It could begin at the dock with a fisherman claiming to have caught a different fish or with the fish monger who sells it to the restaurant or with the sushi chef who misrepresents a cheaper fish for a more expensive cut and still charges the higher cost.

While halibut and red snapper were always something else, salmon was almost always salmon. So to be safe, you should order the salmon, right?

Not so fast.

Seafood scientists have also confirmed that a tapeworm often found in salmon fished from the Asian Pacific is now being found in fish off the U.S. shore. The Japanese broad tapeworm can grow to a length of 30 feet in the human body.

I’ll just pause a moment for you to reflect on that.

OK, you should know that infection with a tapeworm is not very common, and most people who ingest an infected piece of salmon won’t notice anything. Some, though, might have abdominal pain, diarrhea and weight loss.

We hope you find our reviews and news articles useful and entertaining. It has always been our goal to assist you in making informed decisions when spending your dining dollars. If we’ve helped you in any way, please consider making a contribution to help us continue our journalism. Thank you.

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