The first national study of its kind released just this morning has found widespread fraud in fish and seafood labelling in Canada.
Oceana Canada, a non-profit group that works to protect and restore our oceans, found that 44% of nearly 400 samples of fish and seafood they collected from restaurants and grocery stores were mislabelled. The study also found nearly 60% of the mislabelled samples could pose potential health risks for consumers.
We have been working with Oceana Canada to draw attention to this serious issue. I invite you to add your name to a petition calling for action from Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) President Paul Glover.
Even though this is a serious health issue, food fraud is not a priority for the CFIA, Canada’s food safety regulator. Their inspectors are instructed not to check menus for food fraud as part of their routine duties, almost no fish species identification testing takes place on fish and seafood produced in Canada or imported, and the number of inspectors responsible for checking labels in retail and restaurant settings has been greatly reduced.
The rampant fish fraud found by Oceana is a symptom of the systemic weakening of the food safety system in Canada. By the year 2021, the government will have reduced the CFIA’s food safety budget by a further 15% compared to 2015 levels when the Liberals were first elected.
Canadians should feel confident they are getting what they pay for at the fish counter, not a substitute with potentially serious health risks.
The government can’t afford to ignore this issue any longer.