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Restaurants Plan DNA-Certified Seafood Program

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the getting-what-you-pay-for dept.

The Almighty Buck 174

Restaurants across the globe will soon use DNA technology to reassure customers that they are getting what they pay for. In recent years getting "counterfeit" seafood has become a big problem. In 2007 several people became seriously ill from eating illegally imported pufferfish that had been mislabeled as monkfish. From the article: "David Schindel, a Smithsonian Institution paleontologist and executive secretary of the Washington-based Consortium for the Barcode of Life, said he has started discussions with the restaurant industry and seafood suppliers about utilizing the technology as a means of certifying the authenticity of delicacies. 'When they sell something that's really expensive, they want the consumer to believe that they're getting what they're paying for,' Schindel told The Associated Press."

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FooGoo me! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185032)

I hate it when I pay top dollar for blue whale and they serve me inferior dolphin.

Re:FooGoo me! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185362)

I hate it when I pay top dollar for blue whale and they serve me inferior dolphin.

Pffft. I all tastes like chicken.

Re:FooGoo me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185402)

Fishy beef. You are thinking of reptile.

Re:FooGoo me! (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185484)

You better thank god that they don't sell you GMO blue whale, crossed with snake,bee and cockroach...

Re:FooGoo me! (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185504)

I hate it when I pay top dollar for blue whale and they serve me inferior dolphin.

Pffft. I all tastes like chicken.

Good to know you taste like chicken.

Re:FooGoo me! (1)

reasterling (1942300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185652)

That is just because the machines didn't know what chicken taste like.

Re:FooGoo me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38186092)

That is just because the machines didn't know what chicken taste like.

They wouldn't need to know. They just need to replicate whichever effects eating chicken has on the human brain (which they obviously could, considering the rest of the simulation worked well enough).

Re:FooGoo me! (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185426)

or panda.

Re:FooGoo me! (3, Interesting)

madmarcel (610409) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186514)

Actually...that 'fish' in your sushi...is not what you think it is...

"report on genetic identification of ‘whale meat’ purchased in sushi restaurants in Los Angeles, CA (USA)"
http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2010/04/08/rsbl.2010.0239.full [royalsocie...ishing.org]

You can submit a DNA sample online to identify the 'fish' in your sushi :D
http://www.dna-surveillance.auckland.ac.nz/ [auckland.ac.nz]
Plenty of evidence out there that whale and dolphin meat from endangered species is sold as 'fish' both in Japan and exported to various countries in the world.

And so comes the market... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185072)

...for intentionally mislabeled "certified" seafood, sold at five times the price of the regular mislabeled seafood. Just like the claims of "organic" vegetables, I won't believe a word of it unless the seafood I'm buying is still intact and clearly recognizable.

Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (0, Troll)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185100)

"Just like the claims of "organic" vegetables,"

I would be interested to see 'inorganic' vegetables...

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (2)

lucifuge31337 (529072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185142)

You damn well know what he is talking about. Claiming something was raised "organically" in the popularly understood sense of the word is quite profitable to abuse due to the fact that many people will pay more for it.

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (5, Interesting)

Dogbertius (1333565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185260)

You damn well know what he is talking about. Claiming something was raised "organically" in the popularly understood sense of the word is quite profitable to abuse due to the fact that many people will pay more for it.

Good point sir!

On another note though, there may be some ambiguity. Some relatives visited from Luxembourg, and I recall at one family dinner we made a big deal about the produce being pesticide free, and the meat being free of artificial hormones, etc. When we explained the term was "organic", our guests spat out their food and all reached for their wine simultaneously, as they exclaimed "you grow all your food in shit?". As it turns out, they use the term "biologique" or maybe "organic-biologique". Very amusing dinner conversation.

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (4, Insightful)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186444)

I think that's more of a language issue. As far as I know, the organic standards thing is the same in Europe as in the US, it's just that in some European languages they use the term biological. In German the use the prefix 'Bio-', in French they use the term 'biologique,' and I think in Italian the use the word 'biologica'. So basically, Europeans tend to call it biological, but it is the same thing that English speakers call organic.

It really is a better term when you think about it, because organic in general relies on biologically derived inputs as opposed to chemical ones. And yes, they still do use inputs; the whole 'organic food is pesticide free' thing is simply not true (and even if they didn't, plants naturally produce an order of magnitude more pesticidal secondary metabolites internally then you're going to get from properly applied spray residues). They'll just use fertilizers and pesticides that are derived from naturally occurring sources as opposed to being manufactured (and yes this includes manure [which is probably good to add to the soil every now and again no matter what system you use]), in other words, of biological origin as opposed to chemical.

The whole thing is a still just clever marketing based on a big idiotic appeal to nature fallacy that serves no purpose other than to separate the gullible and the scientifically illiterate from their money (if it occurs to you that the origin of a substance has no bearing on its chemical properties, then you know more about chemistry & biology than the organic movement) and undermine the integrity of agricultural technology and food science in the public's eye for profit, but the term 'biological' is still better than 'organic.' Not by much I guess since all food is going to biological in nature just like all food is organic but at lest this says something a little more specific about the production practices.

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185298)

I doubt 90% of what is sold as "organic" is organic in the "popularly understood sense" as you put it. From Horizons being the largest organic brand in the country, importing the majority of their food from China, to your local farmers market filled with stands that got all their produce at the local grocery store the night before the market opened. There's a sucker born every minute and if you feed them a premise that involves technology being bad and improving their health, they will give you all of their money in very short order.

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38186206)

The true difference between truly "organic" vegetables and the "ordinary" ones is that with the truly organic ones, you have to pick the tomato bugs off by hand instead of spraying them with something toxic. You also need to harvest everything by hand so that you're not picking up pests with the food. Growing anything more than an acre or two of organic vegetables is really hard on your back.

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (5, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185286)

I eat only free-range vegetables

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185436)

The most difficult part of eating vegetables is the wheel chair

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (1)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185972)

You're supposed to shell 'em first.

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (4, Funny)

jensend (71114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185338)

I've been saying the same thing for years.

"Of course everything here is organic. Do you see me serving you a bowl of sand?"

"Mmm, basalt. Crunchy."

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (3, Funny)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186182)

I present to you 'organic' salt. [amazon.com] . Good for seasoning french fires, and making chemists' heads explode.

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (1)

Silvermistshadow (1943284) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186288)

But sir, NaCl doesn't contain any carbon at- *head explodes* Wait, I'm not even a professional chemist, do I count?

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186430)

I've been laughing about organic foods since the craze really started gaining ground, but that right there takes the cake... Solar Dried Organic Sea Salt, naturally dried... Wow. $30 for 16 whole ounces even. That's a great deal!

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185500)

I would be interested to see 'inorganic' vegetables..

Stone fruit?

Re:Its Life.Jim, but not as we know it (2)

reasterling (1942300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185672)

'organic' vegetables - the stuff even the insects won't eat. ;)

Re:And so comes the market... (4, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185116)

The food scene is like the art scene, it's full of pretentious yuppies saying shit like, "I love dungfish gonads, the texture is so ethereal it dances across my palate like Penn State football coaches dance around the allegations..." Of course they only believe that because they're parroting it word-for-word from the last restaurant review, every time they recommend dungfish gonads to their friends.

More to the point, fishes that were once considered garbage bait fish, like squid, are now haute cuisine and are on every damn menu. Salmon eggs are often sold as fish-bait, but you put 'em on sushi and their worth is jacked up by hundreds of percents.

Re:And so comes the market... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185212)

The food scene is like the art scene, it's full of pretentious yuppies saying shit like, "I love dungfish gonads, the texture is so ethereal it dances across my palate like Penn State football coaches dance around the allegations..." Of course they only believe that because they're parroting it word-for-word from the last restaurant review, every time they recommend dungfish gonads to their friends.

More to the point, fishes that were once considered garbage bait fish, like squid, are now haute cuisine and are on every damn menu. Salmon eggs are often sold as fish-bait, but you put 'em on sushi and their worth is jacked up by hundreds of percents.

Ain't that the truth.

Wanna have some fun? Start critiquing the music selection at one of those stores. As you stand in the checkout line, ask someone "Do they always play these crappy Beatles songs so they can squeeze even more money from over-the-hill hippies who think that the food in this place is somehow better than that in the run-of-the-mill supermarket across the street?"

Makes it worth the wasted time in that place.

Re:And so comes the market... (4, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185218)

I know what country you live in... Squid has been a delicacy for the rest of the world for years. I remember a Portuguese Restaurant with a squid body stuffed with mixed seafood in a cream sauce. It was amazing. Watch "Fear Factor" some time with a world traveler. They will laugh out loud with the "Food Challenges."

Re:And so comes the market... (4, Funny)

Dogbertius (1333565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185274)

When I was visiting in Italy, we watched a parody of Fear Factor where people had to eat american fast food. A bit overdone, but still funny.

Re:And so comes the market... (4, Informative)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185282)

More to the point, fishes that were once considered garbage bait fish, like squid, are now haute cuisine and are on every damn menu. Salmon eggs are often sold as fish-bait, but you put 'em on sushi and their worth is jacked up by hundreds of percents.

Different fish (and food in general for that matter) have always been a rather location specific taste. In many parts of Europe, Cod is considered very good eating, yet here in Australia it is considered rubbish. Kippers (especially smoked) are good eating in Britain, but you can't get them in many parts of the world. Eastern Europeans (and a few other European countries like Germany and Belgium and Norway) love smoked and pickled Herring. Aside from a few measily jars in the back isle of a supermarket it is almost impossible to find outside of there. The Russians have always loved caviar.

It isn't so much that what was once rubbish is now considered fine dining, but rather that due to multiculturalism, many foods that were once unpopular in a foreign country are being driven by populations that are made up of many more nationalities.

Re:And so comes the market... (5, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185456)

It isn't so much that what was once rubbish is now considered fine dining, but rather that due to multiculturalism, many foods that were once unpopular in a foreign country are being driven by populations that are made up of many more nationalities.

Actually, it's not so much about "fine dining" as the cycle of once-populous varieties being overfished almost to the point of extinction, forcing the mass-market fisheries to switch to different kinds of fish. The orange roughy craze of a few years ago was a fine example. You wouldn't have seen orange roughy on menus in the 70s or earlier; it's a variety of fish commonly called a "slimehead," and it's really ugly-looking, something like an angler fish. It also doesn't taste like much. That's why they marketed it as a "fine dining" fish, even though it's pretty easy to catch in huge amounts by deep trawling -- because they needed to trump up some reason why you'd actually eat it. Explain away that bland taste as "subtle, delicately flavored flesh," ship the fish to stores already filleted (so the customer never sees the whole fish), and never mention the word "slimehead," and it becomes the new market darling. Of course, as it turned out, orange roughy can live for over 100 years and they don't even begin breeding until they're 20 or 30, so they're incredibly susceptible to overfishing. Hence why you hardly ever see this "miracle fish" on menus anymore;10-15 years into the "craze" and the supplies are already dangerously depleted. On to the next fish.

Re:And so comes the market... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185604)

Explain away that bland taste as "subtle, delicately flavored flesh," ship the fish to stores already filleted (so the customer never sees the whole fish), and never mention the word "slimehead," and it becomes the new market darling.

And that's kinda like the scam I described with my "dungfish gonads," where I was actually referring to the great Uni (sea urchin gonad) hype of 2005. And why wouldn't they describe it with all kinds of big words? At more than ten bucks a hit, it had to be good, right? It was a good pump 'n' dump scam - hype it so that anybody will try it, and massive short-term profits were made because everybody tried it at least once.

Uni is bland shit. At best, it has the taste and texture of unsalted butter, but there's always that overtone of dingy grime, like licking the inside of a ballast tank. And Brie cheese is supposed to be really good, until you try it and think you're gonna be poisoned because you taste the ammonia in it.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:And so comes the market... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38186276)

I don't like Brie, and it's a bit like how you describe it :).

But I think you've been cheated on your uni or eating it at the wrong places. It neither tastes like butter, nor has the texture of butter. It's closer to a soft crab roe.

Re:And so comes the market... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186202)

I don't know.... right now, I'm dreaming of what it would be like to add that orange roughy thing to a turducken.

now THAT's good eating!

Re:And so comes the market... (3, Informative)

Centurix (249778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186136)

I've been fishing for over 30 years and I can taste the difference between Whiting caught off the Brisbane Bar and Whiting caught further up the sunshine coast. It's subtle, but environment always plays a major role.

Just on a side note, most Australian Cod don't belong to the Gadus genus, they're closer to perciformes. So they're not really Cod. From memory, they collectively get called Cod, like Murray Cod. You're right though, terrible eating.

Re:And so comes the market... (3, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185534)

I'll have you know I was eating squid stuffed with dungfish gonads WAY before it became trendy!

Re:And so comes the market... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186578)

I once read, though I have absolutely no way of verifying it, that lobster was in this category for ages - servants' contracts in New England specified that they were not to be served lobster more than X times a week.

As for me, I believe the most underrated food on the planet is a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Strawberry or apricot preserves, for preference.

Re:And so comes the market... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185448)

Normally I'd agree but given that there are some practical reasons to make sure you're eating one thing but not another...

Re:And so comes the market... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185948)

Is there a such thing as inorganic vegetables?

hmm (5, Interesting)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185108)

Personally I think we should encourage counterfeit seafood; for example, find an indistinguishable but sustainable substitute for shark fin and that's a good thing, I won't lose any sleep over social-climbing Chinese middle class consumers thinking they're buying genuine shark fins when they're not.

Re:hmm (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185272)

The problem is that the substitute was toxic.

Re:hmm (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185406)

You don't need DNA testing to measure for toxicity.

Re:hmm (3, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185528)

The people preparing the fish should have known better. The problem is that the monkfish liver (known as "ankimo" in Japanese) is often referred to as the "foie gras" of the sea, and is prepared in a similar manner to its landlocked analog.

The liver(and gonads, and other organs) of the pufferfish("Fugu" in Japanese), in contrast, are highly toxic and are the reason why only skilled chefs should prepare it.
It's like going to a bar expecting to be served with Ethyl Alcohol and instead being served with Methyl alcohol. That extra "M" stands for "murder."

Re:hmm (4, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185586)

Of course not, you just have to test "monkfish" for pufferfish poison. While you're at it, you should test it to make sure it doesn't have stonefish poison, lion-fish venom, Kyphosus fuscus "dreamfish" hallucinogens, or any of the other millions of poisons out there nature invented to kill you.

Or, you could test to make sure your "monkfish" is monkfish.

Re:hmm (3, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185486)

People deserve to know what they're paying for. You open the door to all sorts of abuses otherwise.

Re:hmm (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185826)

On a moral level, conservation of endangered species takes higher priority.

Re:hmm (0, Flamebait)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185938)

Says who?

Option 1) Ban the killing of endangered species. Some customers will still buy it on the black market.
Option 2) Legalize false advertisement. Customers can no longer trust any place of business, and quickly learn to demand to see the whole animal so they can be sure. Only poachers can provide this proof, so customers end up going to the black market, same as before, only now you've destroyed the public trust as well.

In what world is option 2 superior?

Re:hmm (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186552)

That's an amazingly slippery slope you have there. You actually think it makes more sense to keep something legal and let companies lie about what they're selling you than to just ban the sale of it?

What happens when your substitute kills someone allergic to it? Who takes the blame?

Re:hmm (3, Funny)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185976)

Personally I think we should encourage counterfeit seafood

Counterfeit seafood?
Could I interest you in delicious green patties, that are algae based, and definitely not made from anything else?

illegally imported pufferfish that had been mislab (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185110)

Problem is "illegally imported pufferfish that had been mislabeled as monkfish" ("poor man's lobster,")

Translating: problem is vanity masqueraded as "pursuit of happiness".

Re:illegally imported pufferfish that had been mis (3, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185238)

Nope. That is just old fashioned fraud killing people. There has been a lot of this lately from one nation. From toxic toothpaste to lead painted toys... Simple solution. Buy local food that still looks like the food... It also happens to be green, but I do it anyway.

Re:illegally imported pufferfish that had been mis (3, Funny)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185784)

It also happens to be green

I don't care what Dr Seuss says, ham should not be green.

Re:illegally imported pufferfish that had been mis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185982)

It also happens to be green

I don't care what Dr Seuss says, ham should not be green.

Posting anonymously as I'm moderating on this thread and wishing there was a '-1, Moron' mod.

Re:illegally imported pufferfish that had been mis (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186576)

I would've thought you'd be concerned if such a mod existed for the sake of your own posts.

Re:illegally imported pufferfish that had been mis (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186296)

But would you eat them in a box?

what good is DNA for food testing (4, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185128)

between the Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill, Fukushima disaster, and untold other spills and illegal dumping in to the ocean i no longer trust seafood from any part of the ocean anymore, i hold no grudge against the seafood industry because it is not their fault that the ocean is where all the pollution eventually ends up since both shit and water flows down hill. i feel bad for both them and the ocean and those that like seafood (i like seafood) but the ocean i feel is no longer safe to eat from...

Re:what good is DNA for food testing (4, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185146)

The seafood industry gets plenty of blame for the state of the oceans, so I would not give them any sympathy.

Re:what good is DNA for food testing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185172)

You care about toxins in the ocean but apparently don't give a fuck about the carbon footprint of "producing" seafood? What a fucking hypocrite.

Re:what good is DNA for food testing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185240)

fuck you and the carbon footprint you stepped in here with you commie liberal asswipe.

Re:what good is DNA for food testing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185392)

Al Gore, is that you? Nice try at misdirection.

Re:what good is DNA for food testing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185188)

agreed...the Japanese diet is all turned upside down now with the Fukushima incident...

Re:what good is DNA for food testing (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185308)

yes its not their fault what so ever as millions of rusting, smoking, oil leaking fishing boats head out to spew diesel directly into the water every single day as they dragnet every single thing from a hundreds of square miles.

What (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185138)

There's DNA in my fish? Disgusting! What is wrong with this country?!

Maybe this is a bad thing (1, Interesting)

Improv (2467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185224)

If you can't tell the difference, and arn't refraining from something for ethical/religious reasons, why does it matter? Whether you tell me that food is a delicacy from France or it's from down the street, it's going to taste the same to me. Either I'll like it or I won't. Stop worrying about this authenticity crap. You can't brand fish that way.

Re:Maybe this is a bad thing (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185278)

If you can't tell the difference, and aren't refraining from something for ethical/religious reasons, why does it matter?

If that's the case, I have some AAA rated derivatives to sell you.

Alternatively, fraud is fraud, and we have laws against it because allowing fraud is bad public policy..

Re:Maybe this is a bad thing (5, Informative)

ShogunTux (1236014) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185294)

One word: allergies

For instance, I personally am allergic to ordinary boned fish, but don't have a problem with shelled fish. So if I order crab, it's important to me to know that it's actually crab, and not imitation crab, because one will make me sick, and the other won't.

Re:Maybe this is a bad thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185970)

Ah, but do you realise that "shelled fish" is not actually fish?
You sir, have been deceived!

Re:Maybe this is a bad thing (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186216)

psst: that's not chicken, either.

Re:Maybe this is a bad thing (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186528)

That's a fair argument. I mainly am bothered about abstract concerns for "authenticity" of food for taste reasons, but I am very sympathetic to concerns such as yours.

Re:Maybe this is a bad thing (2)

Strange Ranger (454494) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185326)

"You can't brand fish that way"
 
It's not about branding. It's about price and sustainability. When enough volume of thing$ are fraudulently or erroneously labeled then thing$ either end up with an artificially high price, because supply of real thing$ is known to be small; or the glut of fake thing$ artificially lower the price of the real product because supply seems plentiful, although the supply is largely fake.
 
Either way a free market requires accurate information regarding supply and demand in order to work properly.
 
Also, some people have food allergies. Others simply wish to avoid eating certain species. Others just don't like being lied to.
 
  In all cases fraud is NOT desirable. Regardless of your taste buds or mine.

Re:Maybe this is a bad thing (3, Informative)

denzacar (181829) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185398)

Besides all the smuggling and poaching issues (i.e. poaching endangered tuna species from protected fisheries and selling them as their not so threatened cousins), fraud issues (i.e. selling you bottom of the barrel fish at top quality prices) - the main reason that should concern you and everyone else is right there in the summary.

In 2007 several people became seriously ill from eating illegally imported pufferfish that had been mislabeled as monkfish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetraodontidae [wikipedia.org]

(Maple) Puffer fish are generally believed to be the second-most poisonous vertebrate in the world, after the Golden Poison Frog. Certain internal organs, such as liver, and sometimes their skin are highly toxic to most animals when eaten, but nevertheless the meat of some species is considered a delicacy in Japan (as æè±s, pronounced as fugu), Korea (as bok), and China (as æè±s he2 tun2) when prepared by chefs who know which part is safe to eat and in what quantity.

Re:Maybe this is a bad thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185412)

Either I'll like it or I won't. Stop worrying about this authenticity crap.

If all you ever eat is horrible tasting food, you will never know how really good food taste.

What we humans like is always in comparison to other stuff that we like less. When we try something better for the first time, we know that it is better and suddenly all the stuff we liked before become unliked.

Re:Maybe this is a bad thing (2)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185536)

If you can't tell the difference, and arn't refraining from something for ethical/religious reasons, why does it matter? Whether you tell me that food is a delicacy from France or it's from down the street, it's going to taste the same to me. Either I'll like it or I won't. Stop worrying about this authenticity crap. You can't brand fish that way.

Personally, I think food should be labeled as what it is. If I buy something that says it's hamburger, I don't expect there to be 20 percent textured soy protein mixed in with the meat. Likewise, if I order a fish off a menu or buy it in a store, I expect it to be the fish it says it is.

Unfortunately, the fish industry seems particularly prone to this sort of mislabeling. Lots of types of fish seem to have "common names" that aren't particularly descriptive of what they actually are, yet they're allowed to be used on labels and in stores.

Example: I've seen a fish called "super white tuna" on menus at a number of sushi restaurants. I think it's pretty yummy myself; it can be so fatty that it actually tastes like butter. That's gotta be some exclusive, high-grade tuna, right? Wrong. Two problems here: First, this particular fish is illegal to sell in some countries because it can be so fatty that it causes (ahem) anal leakage. Seems like such a friendly-sounding fish should carry a warning label or something, no? Second, and most importantly, "super white tuna" isn't really tuna. It's actually a fish called escolar. It's not even in the same family as tuna. So why is this labeling legal?

Escolar isn't alone, either. "Rock cod" isn't really cod, for example. Seems to me this entire industry could use a lot more regulation and oversight, for multiple reasons. In the meantime, you pretty much have to bring a guidebook with you to know what you're getting when you order fish these days, and whether it's fished in sustainable ways. I recommend the app from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. [montereybayaquarium.org]

Re:Maybe this is a bad thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38186462)

Oh, and while we're on the subject, Rocky Mountain Oysters aren't really Oysters either!

Bait and switch (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185770)

The fact you don't mind being scammed is irrelevant to everyone else. It's still fraud, in particular "bait and switch" style fraud.

Sorry to drop a downer on this story... (4, Insightful)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185228)

Good news, folks! If you live in Massachusetts, it'll soon be easier to find out if you got the right fish from Legal Seafood than it will be to find out whether the right man was convicted by the state legal system!

http://www.innocenceproject.org/Content/Access_To_PostConviction_DNA_Testing.php [innocenceproject.org]

Re:Sorry to drop a downer on this story... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185790)

That's easy - you didn't get the right fish.
Legal was busted by the Boston Globe about two or months ago for selling mislabeled fish.

Re:Sorry to drop a downer on this story... (1)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185900)

And TFA is the response to that problem. When it comes to the wrong fish, we go from problem to solution in two months. When it comes to the wrong suspect, 20 years and counting.

Belief vs. truth (5, Insightful)

Menkhaf (627996) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185236)

'When they sell something that's really expensive, they want the consumer to believe that they're getting what they're paying for,' Schindel told The Associated Press.

Nuff' said.

Re:Belief vs. truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185810)

Exactly... Notice he didn't say "When they sell something that's really expensive, they want the consumer to KNOW that they're getting what they're paying for." This isn't about ensuring the customer gets what he paid for, it's about repairing the damage to the image of an industry. This is typical for the food industry. Do you think Coca-Cola wants you wondering why it built its Dasani bottling plant right next to the waste treatment plant? Of course not... They want you to wonder how they turned plants into plastic bottles.

Good idea (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185382)

Lets do this for politicians too.

Confused (0)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185400)

I thought that only the government could protect consumers from the evil, evil business owners. How is it possible that a group of capitalists are getting together and finding a ways to eliminate a problem and better serve their customers without some bureaucrat forcing them to do it?

Re:Confused (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185510)

It's very unusual, isn't it? I'm not being facetious.

Because they can charge more (1)

WD (96061) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185736)

... for certified seafood.

Re:Confused (1)

happyhamster (134378) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186520)

You thought correctly. Their "ways" are a cheap publicity stunt that is not going to solve anything. Since they are capable of fraud with the food you actually put in your body, nothing stops them from committing fraud by issuing fake DNA certificates. Enjoy your free-market-solves-everything cool-aid with that fake seafood.

"The problem is when they sell smthing expensive.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185416)

To believe !!! ...What about to get ???

Come on people (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185496)

If you don't want to take chances with your seafood then you shouldn't be playing "Wheel of Fish". Come on people, this isn't rocket science.

Man in the middle (5, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185508)

The problem with the man in the middle is the man in the middle. If I don't trust a restaurant to serve me the seafood I want, how can I trust them to not falsify the DNA information? This is an absolutely stupid idea and does nothing to "reassure" people. Stop insisting you want $5.99 all you can eat lobster, and eat somewhere decent for a change. Until you can bring your own independent rapid-test kit and do your own test before your food gets cold, guess what - you still have to trust the damned restaurant.

Same old "authority" fallacy again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185576)

So what will this change? Now instead of people believing lying seafood suppliers, they will believe lying DNA testers. And they will believe them even more, because of the old "authority" fallacy.

PROTIP: Unless you personally know somebody, you can't say anything about their trustworthiness. Let alone expecting an absolute trustworthiness. And even if... trust is a game of luck and chances.

The only thing you can say, is that if somebody says he's an "authority" or that you can trust him, then you should be very wary! ^^

It's like the diamond industry... (5, Insightful)

mark_reh (2015546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185650)

They give you a piece of paper that says it's authentic, but there is nothing that ties the paper to the diamond. And why should we trust "they" either? We all know that it's all a racket with the De Beers cartel keeping diamonds off the market to prop up the price and we should trust them to give us a piece pf paper that has some sort of truth on it? We can manufacture bigger and better diamonds than natural ones, and even CZ are hard to tell from diamonds except by their unnatural perfection.

Now the fish market has taken a cue from De Beers. They're going to do DNA sequencing and print a certificate to identify species, but what restaurant goers know which species of fish they want to eat and which they don't? It's like the jewelry store showing you a diamond under a microscope. You get the illusion that you know something, but you don't really know if you're even looking at a diamond. And how does the paper DNA test report "attach" to the fish it came from?

Next it will be wine-marketing- "this particular fish was caught by Mr. X, a 5th generation fisherman, at great risk to his life and limb, and was caught in 234' of water in the Bering sea at 2:37am yesterday. It was prepared by Mr. Y, a fourth generation chef who has studied under Mr. Z for 14 years before finally being allowed to do more than cut vegetables. It was seasoned with the essence of ptanga from Zanzibar..." etc. Today it's on special for only $342.

The bullshit will just keep piling higher and higher until only the 1% can afford to eat fish.

Re:It's like the diamond industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38186176)

They give you a piece of paper that says it's authentic, but there is nothing that ties the paper to the diamond. And why should we trust "they" either?

Well, the paper can describe the diamond in great detail. Many diamonds have a tiny serial number engraved.

We all know that it's all a racket with the De Beers cartel keeping diamonds off the market to prop up the price and we should trust them to give us a piece pf paper that has some sort of truth on it?

The fact that the De Beers cartel tries to restrict supply doesn't change the fact that they sell real diamonds.

There are many documented evil acts of De Beers, but selling fake diamonds isn't one of them.

We can manufacture bigger and better diamonds than natural ones, and even CZ are hard to tell from diamonds except by their unnatural perfection.

Ummm, no. Cubic zirconia are easy to distinguish from diamonds. 5 minutes of training and a magnifying glass will suffice.

welcome to red lobster (3, Funny)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185704)

may I take you order? do you want the DNA Certified food or the mystery food?

What did he actually say? (1)

Libertarian001 (453712) | more than 2 years ago | (#38185768)

"When they sell something that's really expensive, they want the consumer to believe that they're getting what they're paying for..."

He couldn't give two shits that what you're eating is what you paid for, he just wants you to *believe* that you're eating what you paid for.

obligatory simpsons quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38185798)

poison, poison, tasty fish!!!

DNA tests? What??! (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38186022)

oh.. - It's the food that gets tested. Okay, I'm for it then.

Not fish... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38186044)

Snake scale.

NFL jersey (1)

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thanks for the tip! (1)

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now I know that my ram's bladder cup really is from a ram.

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